Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Wellness Diaries #1 - (or "Letting The Cat Out of the Bag")

(Written January 13, 2021 at 2:35PM)

I’m calling this “The Wellness Diaries” b/c I don’t want to call it “The Cancer Diary.” We are 10 months into a global pandemic, 4k people a day are dying from COVID-19, there is a civil war underfoot, the crazy “president” has incited an insurrection and, as of about an hour ago, has earned the dubious distinction of being the first to be impeached TWICE. AND he did it in one term. How’s that for “winning?” *eye roll*

After a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy that came back with a 95% certainty that the mass found in my left breast was cancerous, last Friday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I’m not thrilled about this, the toughest part so far has been telling people and holding space for their reactions. Right now, I’m only telling people in my tribe who I know will send prayers and good energy, and I don’t even know that I’ll get to all of them, b/c the conversations are tough and lengthy. I am humbled by the love that I’ve received. That said, the people who love me ALSO need time and space to process this. I don’t want cancer to color our respective relationships to one another. I don’t even have all of the details about myself yet, so (respectfully), I’m not ready for the graphic detail of what happened to someone else they know who “had the same thing.” It could be good, bad, or ugly - I’m aware. I’m expecting the good, but have mentally prepared myself for the ugly.

That said, others’ reactions make me wonder if I’m being naïve about how serious this is. I feel like I KNOW. Here are some other things that I know:

I don’t fear death, but I don’t want to die anytime soon. When my dear friend Vicki (who passed in 2012) said she wasn’t afraid to die from cancer but just didn’t want to miss all of the good stuff that comes after, I FELT THAT. There are many things worse than death. If I die, I hope to see my loved ones who have already passed on, because I miss them. If I am afforded time, I will also look back over my life and oh, what a life it has been! I have had a GREAT run, and even if I never get another day on this earth, know that I have been BLESSED. 

However, because I do enjoy life, I’d like to stay here. We’re all going sometime and in some way - I’d just like to leave a long time from now, and in a way that doesn’t involve any suffering or pain.

I also like my body the way it is (most days) and have hoped to keep everything that I was born with and whatever useful bits I've picked up along the way: they’ve been with me for a while now and we’ve become friends. In my online research over the weekend, I found a group of women with breast cancer referring to themselves as “The Shitty Titty Committee.” At first I thought that was witty 😜, but then I realized I didn’t want to use that name for myself. There is a presence in my body that is staging an invasion - rather than give all of my energy and attention to the invader, why don’t I direct my energy toward my body and give it what it needs to heal? I respect everyone’s right to determine what they want to do with their own body, but as for me and my house… we gon’ live in the light (which is not the same as “walking into the light” because I ain't trying to do that yet).

It is what it is. I’m not being cavalier; it IS! Cancer is a perfectly valid reason for me to cry and yell “Why meeee?” I don’t feel that way and I’m not faking the funk, either. Why NOT me? I’d rather be the one with cancer than for any of my loved ones to have it. Honestly, the last couple of days have found me asking if I’d rather have cancer or covid (still haven’t decided). This is why I’m understanding when folks say “the wrong thing” or don’t know WHAT to say. Some are taking it as if I said “I’m dying tomorrow.” and I GET IT b/c I have done the same thing to other folks upon hearing their serious diagnoses. Thankfully, they were gracious to me, as I graciously accept any words offered with the intention of kindness and comfort.

I’m mostly annoyed at having to deal with this at all. ESPECIALLY right now. Like what thee actual eff? Did you read that list of everything going on in the world right now?? My hope is that by early 2022, everything on that list will be GONE, and in its place, a brighter day.

We Gon' Be Alright.


P.S. - No idea when or if I'll actually post this, but I'll save it as a draft and write more as I feel the urge.

P.S.S. - Published on May 27, 2021.

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