Tuesday, May 28, 2013

BRAVE

Bike Day by the St. Lawrence
River - Summer 2012
I continued to send out email messages to update my friends and family every few weeks so after I had made the decision to have the bilateral mastectomy, I sent out another message.  I got so many responses back!  They all wrote such supportive messages and I am convinced that these messages kept me going.  Sometimes on the darkest days I could check my emails and there would usually be something there from someone that made me feel like I could carry on.  That I could get through this.  I had chosen to end these emails and put myself out there for people to read about and see how things were progressing and at the same time it kind of made me accountable to them to live up to all of the praise and expectations.

There were so many comments about my optimism, my positive outlook, my sense of humour, my courage, my bravery, etc…Sometimes I would read these and think “what a load of crap!”  They all think that I’m brave and strong or whatever but really I’m just doing what I have to do to get through each day.  Whatever makes that easier is what I choose to do.  The bravery and the courage, well I don’t know about that.  When one is faced with something big and scary I guess you either face it and fight it or you hide away and hope it leaves on its own.  I just had to face this monster and not let it get to me.  Maybe I’m not brave or courageous, maybe I’m just stubborn and pigheaded.  Who knows?

Humour helps for sure.  That’s good medicine.  I also believed that a positive and optimistic outlook was one of the best weapons to defeat this cancer.  I also didn’t know how else to be.  What good would it do my family or anyone around me if I was negative and pessimistic all the time?  It would just make things even worse. 

Talking on the Phone - Summer 2011
One thing that many people did was to thank me for the updates I was sending.  Apparently many people were learning things about cancer through my experience.  They were also appreciative of the fact that I was able to share this with them.  I had no problem with it but others thought that they wouldn’t be able to be so open about it all even if they wanted it to be.  I guess I wanted everyone to know what was going on and I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable or have unanswered questions.  I also liked the email option better than repeating myself on the phone all the time about how I was doing.  This email update thing was also making some of them look at their own lives and realize that in the grand scheme of things, some of the issues in their lives were really not as bad or as important as they had thought, compared to what we were living through.  It’s true that when someone else is worse off than you are it makes you feel better about yourself.  I’m glad I was able to help y’all out!

The other thing that nearly everyone commented on was how blessed I was to have such
Diving off the Dock in Kagawong - Summer 2008
a supportive and wonderful husband and kids.  That is an understatement in my opinion.  I cannot begin to describe how blessed, lucky, and fortunate I am.  There are no words.  I thank God every day for my amazing family and without them; I really don’t know what I would do.  The same goes for my Dad and Sheila.  I really cannot imagine dealing with this on my own.  How do others get through this?  What if you had no family or friends to support you?  What if you were a single parent with small children?  What if you had no health plan and weren’t getting any income at all while in treatment?  What if you lived far away from the treatment centres and had to go there and stay all alone until it was done?  The stress of knowing that you have cancer in your body is hard enough to fathom.  If you add financial and emotional stress and all of those other stresses into the mix it becomes an incredible nightmare.  I can easily see how people can fall into depression and other mental health issues during this time.  Plus it must really slow down the recovery time and healing of all the physical elements that one endures throughout the cancer process.

I was going to continue being what everyone thought I was.  Maybe if I read their messages enough then I would start to believe it too.

Brave - Josh Groban



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