Beyond those pretty little pink ribbons, monthly awareness campaigns and baffling cancer statistics, are stories like mine. Stories of actual people who try hard to articulate and best describe the battles of day to day living after a shocking diagnosis. Honestly, there are only very few words that I can use to accurately capture these emotions. Sometimes, I want to keep it raw enough for people to really know what it’s like. But then again, I also want to keep it sugarcoated enough for people who I know worry about me.
Learning about a cancer diagnosis makes an otherwise productive person like myself wonder how exactly I have failed my own body. “I thought I’ve given you enough fresh food, green juice, shiraz and squats,” I would recall from time to time.
Well, here you go… Another life lesson that some things are simply out of our control.
It occurred to me that Lymphoma was my next life challenge at the stubborn, oblivious age of 25. There was really no time to grieve this diagnosis, which in my opinion worked out well for a chronic over-thinker like myself. Within days of a suspicious X-ray report, I found myself lying down suffocating in both my own anxiety and the sterile stench of a busy operating theatre. As soon as I recovered from surgery, I kickstart Chemotherapy. Waking up and looking at the mirror everyday became yet another long process of losing and finding myself.
If it weren’t for the amazing support of my family and friends, I would probably have left a goodbye note and travelled around South America. That would have been my version of “f#&$ this, I’m out!” Long story short, sanity crawled back to me and I completed the entire treatment without butchering anyone.
Beyond the physical and internal effects, this medical journey has cut way deeper than just my own self. The pain I see in my parents’ eyes for their only child to go through something so invasive at the peak of her life is simply gut-wrenching.
I wasn’t sure what it was going to take for me to accept and embrace this but with faith, I eventually pulled through!