I’ve deleted this post several times already. My stomach twisting and turning, trying to find the right words. Even though I have learned there is no right way to say this or write this… If you know me, you know I strive to do things wholeheartedly, I give things my all. I am a workaholic, I try to go above and beyond in all that I do. I blame this on my parents, my dad specifically (sorry mom!). I have his work ethic. When I am sick, I go to work… I stick to my commitments, but this. This, I was not committed to.
On October 28, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer. I remember feeling nothing. I saw my doctor frown as she reached out to grab my hand, my cousin beginning to weep in the corner, and there I was 25 years young with cancer. My mouth became dry, a lump in my throat began to form. I instantly thought of my mother, how was I going to tell her. How was I going to tell the woman I had just told earlier in the day she couldn’t go to the doctor with me because “It’s not that serious mom! I’m fine.”
How was I going to tell my dad, my siblings, my sorority sisters, and my kids at work? Oh my kids! I thought of so many people outside of myself. When I did begin to cry, my doctor said to me she was glad I was showing some emotion because she knew I heard her. I still don’t think all my emotions had shown, not like what I was going to experience over the next two weeks.
Leaving the doctor’s office with my cousin, we cried on and off on the road home. We went to eat and I thought of all the things I still need to prepare for work that afternoon, including my Halloween costume. There was no way I wasn’t going to dress up for work or ruin the kid’s day. I contemplated telling my parents that same day because I knew they would want me to stay home, but all I wanted to do was go to work. I wanted things to be the same. I wanted things to be the way they were before cancer.
The next two weeks were filled with telling various family members, friends, my sorority, and my job. It was emotionally exhausting, but not because I was sad for me…I was sad for those around me. That their lives are going to have some kind of inconvenience, things will change not just for me, but for them.
My brother is the inspiration behind starting this blog, he suggested I do this to document my journey. My doctor reaffirmed by saying, “You’re the person who is going to inspire others, write a blog!” My journey is mine, it is not all-encompassing of every person with Hodgkin’s nor of those with any other cancer. It is not here for anyone to feel sorry for me, it is for me, to help me. I am a private person, and those in my small circle can tell you that, but this was a story worth sharing, and not because I can help with prevention or diet tips…I wanna eat Toppers everyday still!
It is because truthfully… I am okay with cancer. I have it.. but it does not have me. I will not let this define me. I will not lose my sarcasm, nor my fighting spirit. I believe in a God who brings you to battles but leads you out as well. My faith is strong, my ambition is too.
I’ve found the silver lining in all of this! I am out of work while I go through chemotherapy for the next 6 months, which means more time for fun (sorta!). I am determined to master eyeliner and become a make-up boss. Since I will most likely lose my hair I will have more time for make-up and not worry so much about styling my hair. My crafty side will have more time to come out, and a few other ideas up my sleeve. I will have more time to make people laugh about cancer too! Because I’ll always believe laughter is the shortest distance between two people.