While many parts of my cancer experience were extremely difficult, I tried to embrace it — and accept help when needed.
Cancer is something that no one ever wants to hear. When I heard those words at diagnosis in 2016, my first thought was, “why me?”
Prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, I had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. I couldn’t believe that now it was cancer I was up against.
At the time of diagnosis, I was 36 with an 18-month-old. I had literally just stopped nursing. It took me a couple of days to feel all of the feelings that came with the breast cancer diagnosis. There was fear that I wouldn’t be around to watch my son grow up, worry at the thought of chemotherapy and hair loss, anger that cancer had invaded our lives, and a feeling of powerlessness. I remember what one of our priests said during a homily at church, that if we are given a cross to bear, God knows we have the strength for it. It was not easy, but I tried to offer it all up to God.
I embraced the experience. That is not to say that I loved and looked forward to chemo and needles being stuck into me, the bilateral mastectomy in my future, and the generally horrid way one feels when going through chemo. I embraced meeting all the strong, courageous and beautiful women I met while at the chemo infusions, or through support groups. If not for the cancer, I wouldn’t have gotten to know any of these people, including my medical team. I absolutely love my oncologist, surgeon and all of the nurses and physicians assistants that I could not have gotten through this without.
Another way that my mindset changed was learning to live for each day as it came. This is still a struggle for me as I am a planner, but I have deliberately been trying to look for and enjoy and appreciate all the little day to day things, trying to be more spontaneous and take those opportunities that arise to spend time with my loved ones. I want to make my time in this life count!
I always was self-sufficient, could do what needed to be done on my own. However, it takes a village when you are in treatment and have a toddler at home. I realized that I have such a strong support circle. My mother was there for everything. My husband shaved his head in support when my hair started coming out and we had to shave it off. My friends and family came to all of my chemo infusions with me. It’s hard to ask for help or accept help when you are used to doing things for yourself, but cancer changed my mindset that to receive help was a weakness, and to look at the people that were doing so much as an abundant blessing.
Lastly, before cancer, I honestly thought that I was too young for cancer that it wouldn’t happen to me. Now, I know that it strikes at any age, and any stage of life. I think about all the gestures that people made that touched me or made me smile when I was going through treatment, and I try to pass it along to others that are currently receiving treatment. I learned that even the smallest thing can make a big impact on someone.
This post was written and submitted by a CURE reader. The article reflects the views the author and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.
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