After I was diagnosed with cancer, I started to feel like a burden to my loved ones. So, I wrote a letter urging them to continue on with other aspects of their lives.
When I set about to tell my cancer story, I just had a hard time summing it all up, so I just assumed I was never going to be able to write well enough to be called a writer. But for some reason, that has always been important to me — I want to convey to others how I feel.
While in stall mode, I picked up my journal. To this day, I cannot actually remember how I wrote it.
Here’s an entry from when I was beginning to feel like a burden. Everyone in my inner circle was exhausted. Friends and extended family were afraid to check in. This was my attempt at being brave enough. When I saw them slowly falling apart, it was out of love that I wrote this letter to them.
Dear Jordan and Michael,
I am writing this to you both. To the two people who love me the most. So, sharing this with anyone else could be hurtful. I have known for some time your love(s) for me has given me strength, grief, hope, forgiveness and love in return. I guess I am learning love is not perfect, but neither are any one of us. But through it all, you two have perfected my understanding of true love and I thank you both for that.
This process I am going through is a true marathon. Funny thing — I always wanted to run a marathon. I never had enough faith in myself or time or confidence or whatever the stall process was, so I made excuses as to why I couldn’t.
Life has its own plans for each of us. What I’ve come to realize is that I have been training for the conditioning aspect for a very long time, my whole lifetime, in fact. I always knew I needed to be in good shape for as long as possible.
When a loved one runs in a marathon, family and friends spread out along the route to cheer their loved one on, but no one can run the race for them. It is such a personal journey that starts with a single step. Periods of highs and lows happen during the 26 miles, most of which the bystanders cannot feel. The fortitude is from within.
I am at the starting gate with this new “marathon,” checking off the bucket list I did not know I had. Crisis mode has passed.
If you truly believe I have the fortitude which I think I have, then I need you two to get in your mile-marker support roles. I need you both to go back to your lives and watch me complete this journey with your unwavering support. Jordan, you have a job to find and a partner to nurture. Michael you now have two houses with incomplete projects plus my fur babies to tend to. Both of you have held the pause button long enough. Get back to your life. I beg you to finish your stuff too.
I will reach out if I don’t see you at mile markers as I pass. I have always done my best when I was up against a wall and found my inner strength.
So, book your ticket home. You can always come home.
If I did not have such chemo brain, my words would be more eloquently expressed. My love and gratitude for you got me through the first and most arduous part of this process. Acceptance.
For this, I will be forever indebted to your unwavering love and support and the ability to forge an alliance when it was necessary.
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