Shit happens. Cancer fucking sucks. We are all going to die.
The weird thing about cancer is that you know from *what* you’ll die. You also know that it will be sooner than you’d like, even if there’s no way to tell exactly when.
You know what really fucking sucks? Having breast cancer at age 28, before even getting to start a family with my husband.
I could stop there, because that did fucking suck, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook, which I’ll get to in a minute) that’s not where my story ends. I fought cancer like the badass I am, with harsh chemo, double mastectomy, radiation, reconstruction, hormone treatments, the works. Eventually, I became a “survivor.” Years later, I finally got to become a mother. Then as a new mother, my own mother passed away from a different type of breast cancer. While my son was 6 months old. That fucking sucked.
You know what else fucking sucks?
After wading through the grief of losing my Momma and the sleep deprivation of the first year (okay, 18 months) of motherhood, I got to tackle the terrific twos with a good outlook on life. I’m a strong, tough, cancer survivor…I’m still a badass. I lost my mom, but my son will know her through me. Things were looking up….up….
… but shit happens, and after almost nine years cancer free, BAM! The fucking cancer came back. And since I had everything breast related and surrounding areas pretty much removed the first time….well there was nowhere to go but up….up…. a level. To stage 4. Metastatic, stage 4, breast cancer.
The doctor’s words ring in my ears to this day,
I will probably live a few years. Maybe I’ll get lucky and live even 5, or 10, or 15 years. Anything is possible, of course, but the reality is that it’s likely my energy will be leaving this stardust-laden body behind much sooner than I intended. Fucking sucks. No longer a survivor but a thriver, I’m still a badass, but I know no matter how hard I fight, eventually the cancer will win. That’s the reality of stage 4.
However….shit happens. I can focus on the fact that I may not get to see my son grow up or I can focus on enjoying the wonderful world of threenagerhood (yes, wonderful was a little sarcastic, but I digress). I can be jealous of people like my mom who didn’t get stage 4 cancer until later in life, with grown kids, or I can appreciate the things I have that others would be jealous of (like an awesome hubby and our amazing three year old, who really are both wonderful the majority of the time).
No matter how good I have it, many have it better. No matter how bad I have it, many have it worse. And that’s true for all of us, although I guess logic follows that there is one poor soul at the very bottom and one lucky fucker at the top, but that’s not really relevant.
Guess what? You, dear reader, are going to die too. If you’re reading this on The Underbelly, then it’s probably sooner than you’d like. If you’re reading this on my blog, then it may be later, but you really don’t know. The point is…..shit happens and we all die. Some people take that to mean they need to leave a legacy on the world. If that’s your thing, then cool, go for it (but don’t wait, because you never know!). Very few people will leave a legacy that will last longer than a few generations.
I don’t think I will use my limited time left trying to do something that will be forgotten anyway.
And while I want to mold my son and inspire my friends, that can’t be my sole goal in what’s left of my life either. Creating happiness for myself is pretty much the only thing that will fulfill my energy. I can do this by helping others when I feel the need, eating the tacos and donuts or other favorites, sitting on the floor making my son giggle even as my joints suffer, watching the new tv show my husband swears is amazing as he snores next to me, processing protocols at work because life does and will go on, shopping because….well I like it. Laughter. Hugs. That first sip of an ice cold Dr. Pepper.
I give myself permission to enjoy the moments and forget the past. Worry for the future exists, but I can choose to push it away and focus on what I want to do right now.
So while cancer fucking sucks…it is what it is. Shit happens to all of us. Deal with it and find your happiness.
Just do it now because every moment is one step closer to the inevitable. Instead of letting that scare you, find the freedom and peace.
*You can follow Jennifer’s blog at http://keepingabreastofchange.blogspot.com/
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