On December 22nd, Tom and I took off to celebrate the holidays with his family in England, and for the 9.5 hour flight, I planned to sleep, sleep and SLEEP! There was no way I was going to be awake for such a long, boring flight untilllllll.....I discovered the movie "The C Word".
If you haven't seen this movie yet, and have cancer, or know someone with cancer, please do see it. The first part is pretty much my story in a nutshell - 28 year old is diagnosed with breast cancer, is terrified of her hair falling out, starts feeling ugly and unfeminine, experiences basically her death bed from chemo, etc. etc., all while blogging about it. Her attitude is quite positive throughout, but there are moments of very real, raw emotion.
It was interesting for me to watch this because it felt like I was watching myself through a different angle, and it brought up so many memories and feelings from the past 8 months; I was kind of bawling my eyes out the whole time (still not sure if it was because of the actual movie, the two mini bottles of wine I drank, or both, but still...it was a wet face in seat 64D.
One of the things I was thinking about is how much I appreciate the support of my people. I don't know how I would have made it through 2015 without them. There's a part in the movie where Lisa (the main character and cancer patient) is laying in bed and her husband tells her she needs to take a shower because she is a little stinky. She realizes she hasn't taken a shower because subconsciously, she's afraid if she washes her hair, it will all come out.
Before I lost my hair, every single time I went in to wash it, I came out with a lot less. From there, I would crawl in to bed, start crying my eyes out, and then feel the warmth of Tom's arms holding me and listen while I just cried on and on about my hair, my poor hair. Without those arms of comfort, I would have probably drowned myself in my own tears.
I really appreciated how the movie showed Lisa's positive attitude and optimistic mindset while blogging about her experiences, but it also showed her curled up on the couch, bald, depressed, and nauseous. As much as we try to show our loved ones and people who count on us for a positive outlook, it can't be turned on 100 percent of the time. I feel like in my blog I wanted to be strong for my family and friends because naturally, I didn't want anyone to worry. But the truth is, during my last 4 treatments of chemo, I never felt more alone in my whole entire life. No matter how many phone calls/texts/hugs/words of support I received, I still felt like I was locked in a dark, cold, lonely box. I didn't recognize my body or know how to make it feel better. I couldn't go out to see friends, or even go for a walk for fear that I would get sick all over the sidewalk. I remember being stuck in bed for 5 days straight, unable to even lift my head because of the nausea, just staring at my bald reflection in the sliding mirrored closet doors thinking "I can't believe this is me" (and I'm pretty sure my dog, who stayed by my side the whole time, was thinking the same thing). Of course I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel with this physical stuff, but now, I've started to realize, I'm not sure where the light at the end of the tunnel is for me, emotionally. I will soon be done with treatment, have another surgery, and finish my hormone therapy, but when does the depression or loneliness stop? Or the feeling of being traumatized by the sudden halt of normal life? OR the utter horror of the possibility of my cancer coming back? I know these are scary things to think about but it's real and alive and I'm facing this scary thing that I'll eventually sort out...
I just wanted to share with you that cancer, as funny as I've shown it to be at times, and as important as it is to try to see the silver lining and stay positive, it actually, in reality, really really really sucks, and I'm kind of starting to realize that now, or maybe I'm finally just FACING it now for what it really is.
As I reflect back on this past year, I look forward to the year ahead with curiosity - no expectations, just wonderment. So here's to an interesting 2016 dedicated to emotional healing, mindfulness and gratitude. (And hopefully some hair growth)
Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, I don't know what I would do without all of you.