Someone made a comment to me the other day that had me wondering if I have made a mistake with my blog. Their comment, “I can’t believe how easily you got through your treatment for cancer.” The comment threw me, and I had to think about my reply. I would never disrespect or dishonor those who have gone through breast cancer by implying that it was easy for me. On the contrary, this is the toughest thing I have had to do in my life. And it has been a very long fight.
I fought tears, fear, uncertainty, fatigue, side effects, nausea, and all the other emotions that cancer patients face, but one thing was important to me — I wanted to make my battle as easy as possible for my family and friends. And let’s face it, my sense of humor was bound to come out like it always does. I have been turning disasters into funny stories to entertain my friends for most of my life. That is why my husband jokingly refers to me as Pollyanna.
When I first learned of my 14 month treatment plan, I was afraid that I would be nauseated and fatigued for the entire time. I don’t function well when I’m nauseated, so this was a huge concern for me. But I have to admit, my next thought was, “Well maybe I will lose some weight!” So throughout my treatment, if I was upright (standing) and not nauseated, when someone asked how my day was going, I would reply, “I’m fantastic!” I would watch huge grins come over their face as this bald woman with a sparkle in her eye proclaimed she was fantastic. I remember one grocery store clerk saying, “I’m going to remember that. You inspire me.”
Only a small number of people got to see me on the bad days where the sofa became my best friend. This close circle of family and friends watched over me while I rested and took on the cooking, cleaning and my work. Sometimes I felt like I was just trying to live from one chemo appointment to another. On my good days, which were many, I would hold Gene’s hand at the end of the day and say, “I had a good day today,” and he would smile and say, “I’m glad.”
Every cancer patient is entitled to choose how they go through treatment. Some may feel they need to hide from the world. Some may surround themselves with friends. Some may cry or feel that life is unfair. I understand and respect all of those feelings. But for a lucky few of us, we see the humor in the world and choose to not put our life on hold. We shake and rattle the bars and laugh when our friends join us in celebrating each day God gave us.
So, no. It wasn’t easy. But it sure was funny a lot of the time!