Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Trying to Find the Right Words...
It's been a little over three weeks since I found out about a friends diagnosis with lung cancer. Three weeks and I still cannot seem to spit it out. I can't seem to catch the words that coincide with the feeling in my heart. Three weeks and I still am trying to catch my own breath. I know, that sounds completely insane...why do we care about how *I* feel, when I wasn't the one diagnosed? Unfortunately, often when people we love are diagnosed with cancer...we tend to express our own feelings. I am not saying I am dismissing her feelings. I am still trying to figure out what, exactly, she is feeling. I won't truly know though...no one REALLY knows what someone with cancer is feeling unless they have been in that persons shoes (and not everyone with a cancer dx feels the exact same either).
With that being said, I cannot share what HER feelings are...I can only try to express my own, but first I need to provide a bit of a back story...
I met Leanna in an amazing support page on Facebook, (Young Previvors) shortly after my first appointment with the geneticist. I requested to join "YP" when I decided that wanted to go through with my own prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. At that point, YP was still growing, not nearly as large as it is now. Leanna was one of my first Previvor friends, having already gone through her preventative surgeries. Since joining a few similar communities, I've met a number of women that I now consider close friends...many of which I've not even had the chance to meet face to face. There is a bond though, unlike anything I can describe...it's a bond of mutual understanding. Mutual fear, hope, strength, weakness, pain, etc...all combined into one.
I guess, in the back of my mind, I knew something could eventually happen to one of my friends. I guess I knew that there is always a chance...no matter what surgeries someone with a genetic mutation (or hereditary predisposition to cancer) has...there is always that scary realization that SOMETHING can still happen. It's a sobering reality for many of us...it's a constant fear. At least for me, no matter what surgery I have, I still FEAR cancer. I have been around it for years...it's almost a part of me...something expected in my world. There is always that chance...
And then that word comes in...like a wave..."UNFAIR". Of course, cancer isn't fair. But, damn it...why does it have to be so unfair? Why does my friend have to go through this, after everything she did to prevent cancer? Why the hell haven't we figured this all out yet?
I am scared. I am scared for my friend. I am scared for all of my friends. I am scared for myself and my children. I hate cancer. I hate that my world is surrounded by it...I hate that I won't ever escape it. And, whats worse, I have allowed myself to love these women. I allowed myself to make friends with women that I know are like myself...I allowed more heartbreak in my world and the crazy thing is, as bad as it hurts to watch my friends go through this, I wouldn't change being in their lives. I can hide, try to pretend like this doesn't exist...but it does, and it's a very real part of my life.
And then it hits, Leanna is the first close friend, since my Mom's death, that has been diagnosed with cancer. I have friends that were diagnosed previous...but, since her death, Leanna is the first and I am scared. I am scared to lose anyone. I hang on to people...because I am so afraid they can be taken away from me. Life is so delicate. Leanna is a fighter...and my heart is beside her in this, just as much as many others are too.
So, my dear friend, if you make it this far into this blog post...I want you to know one thing. As I breathe, I hope. I hope you show cancer who is boss. I hope you feel fight even on the hard days. I hope you know you have friends that are here for you, even when you feel like the universe is against you. I hope you keep that smile. I hope you keep that light in your eyes. I hope that you know you are so very loved. I hope you kick the shit out of this.
(For anyone wanting to follow my friends journey, you can find her at Andthisizmylife)