i have a catheter in my chest. it was surgically inserted eight days ago. through an incision in my neck. so that i can receive cancer treatments for the next fourteen months. some of those treatments are hard ones and some will be easier. but i have a catheter in my chest. pumping whatever goes into it, into the rest of my body. it’s purple. and it looks like one of my nephew’s beybledes. but it’s there. and tonight, i was in the shower and i was just standing there. with soap in my palm and i literally had to remind myself that i cannot even shower the same way anymore. because i have a catheter in my chest. and this realization with a palm full of rose water body wash sent me over the edge. i am a believer. sure. not sure what kind anymore. i one thousand percent believe in a much higher power than me. and other times, i just don’t get the universe. i vividly remember the first time i denied god; it was july seventeeth two thousand five. i was just shy of seventeen and in the catskills of new york for the summer. i will spare you my summer of oh five sob fest and chalk it up to- angsty teenage girl who absolutely hated everything that summer. i wanted to be skinnier and i wanted a prom date and i was so tired of not being who i wanted to be. i was a pretty good catholic. church on sunday. catholic high school. i didn’t get into much trouble. but i had no idea who i was. and had no idea what i wanted to be. i remember that sunday in that dusty catholic church in the catskills vividly. i had gone to mass just to get away from camp. it was week four of an intense weight loss camp program and i was hating every single moment of it. i had gotten a letter the day before from a friend and the boy i liked, wasn’t going to be able to come to my homecoming party. and so of course, it was the end of the world for me. at age sixteen. but i remember saying in prayer that day- vividly; “why are you doing this to me? why would you make this hard for me? if i am a truly yours of the making, why?” and in that exact moment, in a yellow tie dye t shirt and baggy jean shorts, there was denial. of a higher power. of a god. of a something bigger than me. and it’s been fifteen years since that moment. but it crosses my mind every now and then. because i can’t say there was ever a ‘syke i didn’t mean it, i take it back, undenial’ moment. but it has stuck with me all these years. because i found myself having a similar moment today. a little less teenage angst and a little more thirty one year old with cancer and i am over it. because that’s exactly how i feel right now. i am literally grasping for any ounce of reasoning for this particular moment on my timeline. and while it sounds terrible to say it out loud, all i keep wanting to shout is “why me?” why was i picked for this personal hell? this ravaging of my life and body and literally every fiber of my existence. why me? and it’s weird because it’s a little deja vu like. because i asked that question a lot just five months ago in a hospital bed fighting for my life. and now here we are; questioning the great maker or head of the universe or whatever he or she is. trying to gain some sense as to why. and honestly, the why will never be answered. and i will not spend all of my energy trying to wrap fate into some package that was delivered to me for some reason. or that this is supposed to happen. because that’s bull. and as i stood there in the shower, recognizing that literally every part of my life has changed with just one shitty diagnosis; i fell back to that moment in that church in oh five. and asked again. “why me? why do you keep choosing me? what have i done? what did i fail to do perfectly that has led to this cruel punishment?” and this is hard. because an answer isn’t going to be there. i will never know why. i will never be able to identify the moment in time in which i was selected for this. i try my hardest to lean on the idea that whoever is running the show; whoever grabbed my puppet strings by mistake; whoever is playing my life like the truman show; must have some idea and purpose. that this turmoil and heartache and fear and stress will all blossom into some great garden. i lean on that hard. i rock myself to sleep to the idea that there is a reason and even if i don’t know why, there must be a reason.
because while this is unfair. all of it. every stitch of it. every mile of it. it’s all shitty and unfair and unexplainable and messy. it’s spotlighting quite a bit. it’s unearthing some things i hadn’t tuned into. it has shown me true friendships. it has forced me to slow down. it has created a purpose for self care and self nourishment. it has pushed me into uncomfortable places of self advocacy. and while this new situation i am in is ugly and just plain wrong, i still think back to my denial moment. i still ask why. and instead of waiting for the answer that will never come; i have decided to answer it myself.
why me? why this? what did i do to earn this fight in the battle? and honestly, i think that we are never given what we ask for. otherwise, everything would be peaches and rainbows. i think we are given what will force us to work for what we want. when you desire to be a more patient person, rather than being dealt patience in your first hand; you are given situations in which to learn and practice patience. and so maybe, in my pursuit to figure out who i am and what this life is for me- maybe this is part of that. even though it’s a lot and even though it’s really not cute, perhaps it’s to show me that there is so much strength already here.
because it’s hard right now. but it’s not hard forever. and there is strength. here. deeply rooted inside of me. and maybe it’s been bottled up for too long. maybe the world and the universe and whoever is the maker of it all is ready for that shit to pop off. maybe the why is just that it’s time. to be brave. to be strong. to take care of me. maybe this isn’t a punishment. maybe it’s a blessing. a chance to step back. a chance to heal. a chance to start over. maybe it’s not a burden. maybe it’s an opportunity. to seek the support of those i love and need. to cut ties with the ones who are already fraying. to focus on what’s most important. maybe it’s not a punishment. maybe it’s just uncharted water.
and i have been given the oars. xo.