I would have panicked moments. The thought, “Holy shit, did I cut off my breasts?” would often hit my mind like a ton of bricks. Every now and again someone would send me an article about how they are going to cure cancer and it would make me mad. Go figure, I would think, they are going to cure cancer after all I just went through. (Please note—I know this isn’t a logical thought and to be clear, I would be beyond exuberant for a cancer cure.)
When chemo was over, there were days that I would feel moments of joy, followed by days where I would shut my phone off and cry in bed for hours. It’s hard for me to admit that, but it’s also important for me to be honest about the process. It’s important for me to be honest because this was the reality. It might not be everyone’s reality, but it was, and some days still is, mine. It’s the part no one tells you about.
It’s hard for me to admit the darkness because as a survivor, so often I’m told, “You should be happy you are alive,” and “You’re a warrior, an inspiration, you are strong!” I am all of those things. But let’s face it. I’ve been through hell, which sometimes makes doing and being those things more difficult than you can imagine.
Cancer has taught me this invaluable lesson: There is a huge difference between BEING alive and FEELING alive. Being alive is great, but can feel empty and lonely. For the last eight months I have been consumed with my health. Joy has often been replaced with pain. Now that I am moving past the pain, finding what makes me feel alive again is part of my emotional reconstruction.