The thought of traveling across the country to meet a bunch of strangers just seemed so out of my capabilities. I have been tied to doctors appointments and machines for almost three years now, and doing anything outside of that environment felt really scary. But, CancerCon was a reminder of my capabilities, my community, and that my complicated feelings about cancer are valid. These strangers whom I had only ever “met” on the internet very quickly became some of the strongest bonds I have ever made. From dancing/singing together to being raw and honest about our scary and complex lives, stories were told that only the people at this conference could understand. At CancerCon, we could be as vulnerable as we wanted and brave enough to talk about things that truly shake us to our core. No topic was off limits, and everyone had a chance to speak their truth knowing that they were being heard by people who understood and wanted to see you thrive. I learned so many things at this conference, but I thought I would share some main points that changed my perspective on how I view my circumstances. Here are three main ideas I learned.
- The people I chose to let in my circle either as a friend or a partner- aren’t just doing me a favor. I am not someone that people just “put up with”. I have skills and a personality to bring to the table.
- I am a whole meal, not just a snack. This is something we talked about extensively in one of the breakout sessions. The idea that I am more than my diagnosis and my disabilities just seems obvious, yet too simple. I can be whole again and more than just the trauma I’ve endured over the last few years.
- My feelings about my ever-changing body are valid and normal. My body has undergone a lot since I was diagnosed. I am decorated with scars and stretch marks. I have lost organs and hair. But despite these changes to my body, I am desirable and worth more than just my physical appearance and what others think my abilities are.
I guess I was reminded that I am capable of more than I think. I am worth more than my scars and my sick days, and I can still have meaningful relationships. I can still contribute to the world around me and I have so much more power over myself and my life. I don’t give myself enough credit. I wish it didn’t take traveling halfway across the country to remind myself of that again, but it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken a step towards doing something that scared me.
By : Tamica Taddicken