The lotus only blooms from the thickest and deepest mud.
I have cancer. That’s all I could keep saying in my head over and over…it was like an alarm I just couldn’t turn off. I started drafting texts to my friends and I just couldn’t figure out how not to put it that bluntly. Why beat around the bush when I’m preparing to drop this missile? It wouldn’t hurt them any less if I sugarcoated the news. Note: because I want to be truthful to my readers about this journey, I’m not going to hold back with this post so if you are uncomfortable with talk of death, you may want to stop reading. Thoughts of dying danced in my head and the next few days were filled with uncontrollable tears, only stifled by restless sleep. I began to have terrible dreams – of my parents having to bury their only child, my cat’s confusion about her owner’s whereabouts, my boyfriend and his family dealing with my loss – it’s crazy how you give depression an inch and it takes a mile. This is where it took off running…less than a week after the diagnosis, my then-boyfriend of almost 2 years decides that he can’t possibly stay with me. I was dumped because I have cancer, and to make matters worse? It was via text. I could not believe the way my life was unfolding. It felt like it was straight out of a movie, but THIS was my actual life: 25, freshly dumped, and no idea what the future would hold. Don’t worry – I’m all about silver linings and this one has a huge, platinum sparkly one coming up…I just didn’t know it yet.
Another week goes by, and funnily enough absolute rock bottom is where I get my strength. I contemplate everything that has happened and shake my head…I cannot control ANYTHING that is happening or will happen in my life. This realization both shocks me and comforts me. Tears roll down my face, and I tell myself to stop crying. It works. This was my “aha” moment. This very second. I realized that although circumstances aren’t able to be controlled, I can totally control my attitude towards them. I know! It seems like such a simple concept but obviously I really wasn’t thinking from a healthy mindset before this point. This is not to say that I was totally accepting of my disease after this, positivity takes a little bit of practicing.
Chemo is coming up in about 3 days so I decide to take this opportunity (at my mom’s insistence) to go out with my friends. It was Friday night and I spent all day in bed, so a little enjoyment was overdue. I was meeting up at a friend’s place with a good girlfriend of mine and her buddy…we’ll call him D (he’s very important in this story). I’d met him a few times prior to this night but hadn’t thought much about it since he was in a relationship. This particular night, he tells me that he recently just got out of a relationship too. We get to chatting and I break down and tell him EVERYTHING. I mean down to the parts that I had just figured out. Turns out, D happens to be the most positive person I have ever met in my life. He listens to me pour my heart out and tells me that he believes I can do this. I can stay positive and fight this regardless of anything in my way. We were supposed to meet that night, he’s promised to be and has been by my side ever since. He believes in me with all of his heart. We still don’t know how we got so lucky to find each other at a point where both of us were absolutely not looking for anything, let alone another long term relationship…but I guess that’s when life happens. I finally had a partner to encourage me when I got sad and to fight alongside me. I don’t know if it was my attitude, him, or a bit of both, but suddenly life started to seem a little more bearable. My strength was growing little by little.