When you think of Cancer what comes to mind? I know for me before I was diagnosed, I would envision a frail, a somewhat emaciated person, hooked up to an oxygen mask, on a tiny hospital bed, swarmed with nurses and Dr.s logging their every heart beat, every minute breath. Death.
I guess I got this perception from movies and television. And in some cases we do see this in "real life". But hardly in my circumstance.
I'm HERE. I'm living. I am strong! I actually don't think I could have said these words honestly and out loud if it weren't for the 'C' word.
Before cancer I was lost. I felt unworthy, disregarded, ugly and just unloved. I never felt purpose. I always searched for what I should be doing. What was it that I was put here on earth for? That is the question that can haunt us for the rest of our lives. And it was haunting me, controlling all emotions. It never allowed me to be free, or to find myself, because I thought I would run out of time, like a character in a video game. And throughout this search I became bitter. Negativity sat on my shoulders like a talking parrot. It said whatever it wanted and didn't care about the repercussions. This negativity pushed me further away from the goal, of finding my purpose.
I didn't know how to love whole heartily either. I thought nobody could love me with all this baggage, the turmoil I could not let down from my past and childhood. But it was me who kept digging my hole, larger and larger until my back seemed to give out! Then.....Cancer.
I really don't know how to explain it. It was the weirdest thing I can describe. Being diagnosed with cancer was the hugest blow that I have ever endured, and I have been hit with plenty that have left me shattered. If I were true to my past nature I would have let this shocker swallow me up in all the negativity surrounding it. But this was different. I cried, yes, but in a different way. I guess people describe it as an Epiphany, or the light in my brain flickering on. It took me a few days to realize I needed this. This is my chance! This is my time, my time to change. To change what I've previously only known (which is negativity), and be the person I know deep inside I am. To be the person I have always wondered about, and dreamed of being
I didn't know how many people out there in the world, yes the WORLD, that are here to support you.
I barely had people to talk to before diagnosis. I was always afraid to meet new people. It was out of my comfort zone. I felt I couldn't be myself, otherwise I would say something stupid and that would put them off. I gave up trying to make friends. I was horrible at conversation. I really had nothing positive to talk about so I wouldn't say much. I felt lonely. Not good enough.
Now that has changed! I have met (mostly electronically) the most inspirational people throughout this journey. I am part of an online support group for Lymphoma patients or caregivers. This forum has helped me gather strength when I needed it the most at times. I am so happy to have found them from the beginning of this journey! In the beginning I was the one asking questions and looking for advice. But now I feel I have taken on that role of advice giver and up lifter. It feels so great knowing I am helping somebody just by encouraging them and giving them some helpful tips.
Although I don't see many of my supporters face to face, it has been remarkable the out pour of support I get from individuals, friends that I haven't seen in years, or strangers that have heard about me! It makes me feel so loved. I have never felt important, but this is giving me a sense of being for the first time in my life!
Don't get me wrong 'C' ISN'T my best friend.
It has shattered my dreams of ever conceiving a child. Something I definitely thought was in my near future, but I now have had to come to grips that it's not. It was a very hard time for me to come to terms with this, but I am now at peace with it. I can see now, that there will be a plan for my future. But I'm not going to go back to old Cierra and try and figure it out. Not going to dwell and stress about it. Whatever happens, happens. Cancer has taught me patience.
'C' has left me heavier, 20 lbs., (AHHHH!), and has taken away my lovely hair (that I always complained about, and took for granted!). But I feel great! Surprisingly, I feel the most beautiful I have ever have! I guess a new sense of confidence is what Cancer so unselfishly gave me!
At times when I am going through treatment, I feel like a big ball of emotions. Sometimes I can't get my butt out of bed, as bad as I would like to, but I tell myself: One day this will be but a blur!
This disease has given me self worth. I am worthy of love, and success. Succeeding was always a nightmare of mine but now it seems like a pleasant dream I can fall asleep to every night!
I want to do more with my life now. Helping others is on the top of my list. Paying it forward. Being somebodies advocate, are just some things I can come up with right now.
I have hope. But the greatest thing I have gained is POWER! I have this power that is ready to be unleashed. I cant wait for my new journey to start and this one to be a memory of how strong I was.
The possibilities are endless for me after I beat this and rise to the TOP!
So now when you and even I, think of cancer, let's tune into the positive! Each person has their own journey but every one that I have encountered has changed into this remarkable person. We now have the tools and the strength to conquer whatever lies ahead!
Thank you to everyone who is a supporter of ME! Without each and every one of you I would not have changed into the amazing person I am becoming!