Are you now humming the “Lego Movie” theme song in your head??
A week or so ago my friend Alexis came over to shoot some headshots of me that I needed for my Fight CRC Ambassadorship. She did a lovely job, but I dreaded editing them. I dreaded looking at them. I’m not very happy with what I see and I wanted to photoshop the shit out of the photos.
My hair has thinned and I have a weird baldish spot at my part (chemo’s fault). My skin is a wreck with a rash that looks like acne (chemo’s fault) and I’ve gained a lot of weight (steroids and quarantine’s fault). To most people on the street, they’d never know I was going through any medical treatment because I “don’t look like I have cancer”. I’m usually pretty well so I “don’t act like I have cancer”. This is how I want it – my health issues are just something I deal with as part of my every day, it’s not the defining part of my life. I decided to not retouch the photos, because the outward affects of the medication are part of the story.
Last weekend Chadwick Boseman died and everyone was shocked, including me. “Nobody” knew he was sick and his seemingly sudden death was jarring. I’m not going to lie, Friday and Saturday sucked. Like a lot. He was my age. He was initially diagnosed at an earlier stage than I was. His health failed relatively quickly, all of which really freaked all of us out. Right now while I’m feeling well and looking “well” it’s easy to forget how serious this diagnosis is. The facts on this disease are frightening but we’ve come to believe that we can’t focus on that. We have to live our lives as normal as possible while also cherishing each day.
I’ve started to see that maybe I paint too rosey a picture of my situation. Perhaps those who follow along are lead to believe that everything is great and I’m always positive. I’m sorry if I’ve misled you, I just don’t want to spend too much time focusing on the negative. Sometimes I feel like crap. Sometimes I’m angry or sad or scared. Some days I look in the mirror (or at a headshot) and think “ugg.. what has happened? I don’t look like me.” The biggest negative I go through is the guilt I feel. I feel bad that my loved ones feel sad or scared. I feel bad that I’m not able to do everything that I used to do all the time. Mostly I feel bad for the affect that this situation has on others. All that said, I truly do believe that all of the negatives are a very small portion of my experience. Aside from the first week after diagnosis, I don’t really ask “why me?” because why NOT me? What makes me so special that I shouldn’t have to go through tough things? Everyone endures difficulties in their lives, this just happens to be mine.
I thank all of you for your kindness and the love you’ve sent from day one. The support I receive from my family, friends and community is the wind in my sails. We may be sailing up stream, but the boat IS moving. We’re making progress. I don’t know what the next few years will hold, the statistics mean nothing to me so as far as I’m concerned I’m going to keep taking small steps toward the larger goal.. a long, healthy, (mostly) happy life! I’ll also keep hoping my little bald spot fills back in!!