let me just tell you that insomnia is probably my least favorite part of having cancer. because your body works so freaking hard all day to survive and at the same time, your whole system is killing every cell that has ever existed. and it’s exhausting. so when i lay down, after emotionally barely holding it together for a sixteen hour day and i really shouldn’t say barely because i one hundred percent had a meltdown at nine forty seven this morning. and my brain is just barely functioning at this point. it’s quarter to four but my wake up time was just after one. cute, right? the steroid regiment i start to prepare for chemo treatments causes mass insomnia. which is so fun. it’s like a second set of hours. except no one else is awake and your whole body aches from existing. but enough woe is me. today i was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. which happens to be a grief podcast. and before you get all “oh wow she’s like the saddest human ever”; it’s not like that. because people fail to realize that grief is not about death. it’s not only dedicated to the act of dying. it’s about loss. and loss can come into our lives in so many freaking ways. and often times, it’s more about loss in ways that are not connected to death. and while i like to call myself an expert in grief [and again, not in a “wow, get this girl a therapist way”] but i kinda am. i unexpectedly became one. after losing my best friend five years ago, i kinda got thrown into understanding grief and death and how they mix together. and the seven steps. and seeing a grief counselor. and watching the process take nearly four years. and in the middle of that grief, came so many other circumstances in my life that were losses. but not deaths. i am talking about loss. in general. whatever that looks like. for me, wow. it’s been so so so much. loss of friendships. loss of normalcy. loss of acceptance of my body. loss of physical traits. loss of self esteem. loss of routine. loss of independence. loss of normalcy, oh wait i already said that one. but that one is probably my everest or whatever. it’s definitely my hardest loss. it’s the one i grieve the most. sometimes in the shower. sometimes as i drive to the infusion center instead of driving to work. sometimes in the middle of the day in the fetal position on my bed. loss is just loss. it’s something that looks exactly like grief. it’s something that has to be processed just like grief. they are one in the same. and it doesn’t require a body in the ground. and so right now, i am grieving the loss. of my old life. one that wasn’t so laden with appointments and thirty three different medications and everything that i have left behind. and there were a few things that really stood out to me in this podcast. things that made me shout out loud to myself as i was driving back to my parents house. and here they are. first, not everyone is here for this. much like i didn’t sign the cancer sign up sheet, neither did the people in my life. didn’t order it, not on my receipt. some people are absolutely amazing when it comes to a time of crisis. but cancer isn’t a crisis forever. some people can’t hang for the chronic stage that cancer eventually becomes. where it isn’t the fight anymore, it’s the survival everyday and the fear that will always loom of exiting remission. surgeries and appointments and scans. some people are great in a crisis. but not everyone can handle it being your new normal. and second, and man is this one probably the best thing to hear someone else say out loud because sometimes when i say it to myself or in my head, i think i might be the only one to believe it.
if you have eyes, you know this year has been one of my worst. i have been fighting hard for nearly six months. can’t seem to catch my breath. went from one wicked diagnosis to a life changing one in just the matter of weeks. i have been in chronic pain and fatigue for months. and have been holding my head just centimeters above the waves for quite some time now. and i think there is a lot to be said about having faith in a time like this. it’s something to cling to; something that helps ease the pain. but one of my biggest pet peeves right now is when people tell me that god will get me through this. ummmm. actually, i will. now, before you all toss me down to the devil himself, let me see if i can help y’all understand where i am coming from. i one thousand percent believe in some higher power. and i also believe in the power of prayer and the idea that having faith in yourself and in your team, is a big part of making it through absolutely any hardship. but. the last time i checked. god is not in an infusion chair every seven days. god is not doing the hard stuff. he’s not doing the suffering. he’s not having the hard days. he’s not doing the work. sorry, but i am. i am getting me through this. by rising above the challenges, by trusting in my medical team, by making hard choices, by handing others the oars, through having faith in myself and my ability to ride this storm. i am not saying that the big guy upstairs or whoever it is, isn’t hearing the prayers of the masses. but i am taking the credit for the getting through this. because this battle is more about having faith in myself to do the hard work and to not wanna slip away from treatment slowly and silently and resume my normal life. it’s about me choosing to dive head first into the raging waters and search for my own healing. and i think some people probably think i am crazy. but i promise you, i kinda am. but also i kinda am normal. and what i mean by that is my biggest pet peeves revolve around people saying shit that just takes away my power in all this. giving credit to someone or something or some being that isn’t actually fighting the hard fight. and it can be really hard. searching for reasoning and understanding and answers to all the whys and the unfairness of it all. but it also is super draining to put the energy there instead of towards the fight.
because i have said it a million times and i will forever say it- everything does not happen for a reason. shit just happens. i do not believe that there is someone out there pulling things out of a hat and delivering them to people for a reason that will later present itself. absolutely not. shit just happens and it sometimes, or at least all the time in my case, flips your whole damn narrative. and to find understanding and reasoning, we begin to try to piece things together in a way that makes sense. but, it’s not true. sometimes bad shit happens to good people. now that one is a testament that i will gladly sign my name in ink. shit happens. to everyone. not just me. and it sucks. and it’s not always big stuff like cancer. it can be big stuff like unemployment or ugly family drama or marital problems or e-learning [oooo, that’s a good one right? or is it too soon?] everything just happens. there i said it. because i refuse to give credit to the undeserving. and what i mean by that is, well, i have faith in this process, in this diagnosis, in this battle. and i have faith in those who walk beside me. and even have faith in the ones who walk just a few steps behind me. but there has to be some common understanding that shit, like cancer or a virus or blowing all four tires on the highway or stubbing your toe in the middle of the night, just happens. without warning. without life vests. without any sense of direction.
and suddenly, the ball is in your court. and there is so much to do. and so many unforeseen things ahead. and you are hearing a million different things. like god will get you through this. or this is his plan. or he needs more soldiers for his mighty army. nah. look, i am good. right here. recognizing that the only way to make this shit that happened go away, is to have faith. in me.
it might not be everyone’s favorite read this week. but man, it needed to be said. trust me. trust my process. trust that i’ve got this. and that we can hold each other tightly; through whatever shit is happening. xo.