I haven’t been completely upfront with everyone.
Since announcing my diagnosis last Saturday, I’ve been commended on staying so happy and positive by hundreds of people. For the most part, I do truly feel happy. In fact, I was feeling so great at the beginning of this week that just last night I started a blog post about why I’m so happy despite my diagnosis. After reading through some of the comments on my first blog post, I decided to put that “happy” post on hold, especially after having a rough day. The comment below really stuck out to me:
“I hope you write about all your feelings and emotions as well as what is going on in your life at the time so that you will be able to help others get through their rough and troubling times.”
This process isn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows and I have to stop pretending it is. I guess if I’m going to share my experience with everyone, I have to be brutally honest. Here goes…
Today was a bad day for me. I mean, a really, really bad day. It started while I was at work editing one of the best interviews I’ve ever done. I thought it was going to be a great morning and it was until I realized that in just a few weeks I won’t be sitting at that desk anymore. Instead, in exactly 4 weeks I’ll be sitting in a chair getting pumped with chemicals while I begin my battle against cancer. My entire life is about to be turned upside down and I’m not ready for that. I don’t think the reality of my situation has completely sunk in yet. The more I thought about my near future, the more upset I got.
All of a sudden, tears started pouring out of my eyes. I went into the bathroom and wasn’t able to do anything except wait until the tears stopped flowing. It was like I had no control over my own face. When I finally felt like I could walk out, my vision in my right eye was blurred and I could hardly see. I had no idea what was going on. This lasted about 30 minutes and I’m guessing it was all stress related. Once I could see normally again, I continued to edit my interview and got all of my work done for the day by 10 AM.
I had to leave work early to go to an appointment. This was my first oncology appointment alone since my mom left last week and that was a bit intimidating. I’m 25 years old, yet at that moment, I had wished more than anything that my mom could be there with me. I was immediately handed a packet full of potential side effects from chemo when I walked into the office. We’re talking 3 full pages with almost anything you can imagine listed. I was told my hair will most likely start falling out around three weeks after my first chemo treatment. I’ll lose my eyebrows and even my eyelashes, my skin may get very dry, my nails will be brittle, I’ll likely feel fatigued and nauseous and those symptoms are just a few of the more common ones. I left that appointment feeling down and once again, couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face. I sat in my car for about 15 minutes before I felt like I could drive.
Last week I learned about another side effect of chemo that had never before crossed my mind. There’s a good chance that these treatments will make me infertile. I’ve been meeting with specialists to talk about getting some of my eggs harvested and stored so that I may be able to use them some day if I choose to do so. This has been such an emotional experience all by itself. There are so many decisions that I’ve had to make recently that I thought I’d never have to think twice about and being told I may never be able to have children hit me way harder than I would have expected. I’m not even sure if having children is something I want because I’m far from that point in my life, but being told I can’t puts it into a whole new perspective.
I think the hardest part about this is feeling like I have to be happy to avoid pity. It’s easier to force a smile sometimes than to talk about what’s bothering me. I want to be that positive, happy person all the time because that’s who I am, but I have bad days too. I feel like I need to be strong to avoid other people being affected by my situation. The last thing I want to do is be a bother to someone else or have anyone worry about me. I am a strong person, but I have my fair share of moments of weakness and I’m finally learning that it’s ok. The truth is, no matter what’s going on in your life, you’re going to have good days and bad days. You’re allowed to be sad sometimes, but try not to let the sadness linger, even if it means doing something silly.
Yesterday on my facebook page, I asked you all to share some cheesy jokes with me. First of all, thank you to everyone who did. I promise it helped to cheer me up! I find ways to make myself smile even when it’s not easy, and that was something I really appreciated yesterday. I wanted to share a few of the jokes here with everyone. I hope you all find a reason to smile today!
Q: How does NASA organize a party?
A: They planet!
-Courtesy of Kevin Kennerson
Q: What do you call a fake noodle?
A: An impasta!
-Courtesy of Jonathon Knight
Q: Why did the hipster burn his tongue?
A: Because he drank his coffee before it was cool!
-Courtesy of Aaron J Lawn
Q: What do you call a guy with a rubber toe?
-Courtesy of Dennis Scully
Q: Why did the football coach need to get change for a dollar ?
A: He needed a quarterback!
-Courtesy of Jon Williams
Q: Why did the duck go to rehab?
A: He was addicted to quack!
-Courtesy of Kevin Dailey