From the very beginning of my cancer journey I felt like my life was changing drastically at lighting speed and I was terrified of what the outcome would be. In a nutshell, I had been told that the probability of survival was minimal, meaning I was given a death sentence and that was something I was not willing to accept. NO! I shouted internally, I am not ready for my life’s journey to come to an end. I still have many more chapters to be written in my book of life. My mind was overwhelmed with so many thoughts and trying to grasp all the information at once. All I knew or thought I knew was that this was my battle and my battle alone. I felt like I was all alone in this health crisis and that I needed to show that I was strong, fierce, emotionless on the outside however on the inside it was a whole different story.
In scary situations, sometimes we may feel so much fear that we want to run away and not face our fears, but unfortunately, cancer is not something you can run away from, it’s literally in you. I had to face my deepest fears of mortality and make a decision that could very well end my life either way. As much as I wanted to run away from reality and escape I physically could not. I was literally in the eye of the hurricane! I had to use a machine to administer oxygen, because I could not breath on my own. This meant that I couldn’t take more than a couple of steps without the oxygen tank because I would immediately start gasping for air. At the same time, I was also experiencing several organ failure issues, high blood pressure, uncontrollable fever levels, high levels of pain, and having to sleep in the upright position. Physically ignoring my cancer was not an option for me however mentally I thought what was happening to my body did not necessarily equate to my death. I know that it may appear silly to others who read this, but for me actually going through it at the time, I did not think all hope was lost. In my mind, I was in bad shape but I was in denial I didn’t want to accept my death like the chaplain wanted me to do. It did not help, that I thought I had to process all the information by myself and that I was alone in this life or death situation. Yes, cancer was happening to me physically, but I did not have to face this diagnosis alone. Initially, I did try to process all of it all alone and that terrified me to my very core. On the other hand, I told myself, this can’t be the end of my story so no I don’t accept this. That is what I felt when speaking with the chaplain. I couldn’t say the words he wanted me to say that I accepted my death when internally I was screaming NO! Ultimately, I ended up uttering the words he wanted to hear just so that he would leave the room. After the chaplain left, my mother who was always by my side could see the anguish and inner turmoil I was feeling. She reached out to grab my hand and squeezed it. It was then that something snapped in my mind and said you’re not alone. Her physical touch of support was so strong for me that I started to cry because I felt comfort. I had put up a front of being so strong, fierce, emotionless with the doctors, nurses, medical staff, the chaplain, and anyone else I came in contact with. However, when everyone left and I was all alone in my hospital room with just my mom, then I felt the walls come crashing down. I was finally trying to process all the information, and the flood of emotions erupted in the surface. Even though I was crying my eyes out I recall telling her that I was going to fight and take the chemo treatment and get through it. She looked at me and said, yes, we will fight and go through this together. Finally, I realized I was not alone, I had someone by my side who I could use as a lifeline through this cancer battle.
Many times, during my cancer battle I did not want to share what I was feeling or going through because I did not want to bother or overwhelm others. During the times that I would refrain from speaking to others and try to do things on my own is when my cancer battle was the most difficult for me. Learn from my mistakes, don’t try to go through difficult times on your own, reach out to others for help. Cancer was my diagnosis but I had people around me who could help me. Help was always available to me, all I had to do was ask for it. Don’t think you are alone and try to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, reach out to friends, family, cancer groups, counselors or even a stranger. Always remember that you’re not alone. There is always someone willing to help. All you have to do is let them help you.