A Little Secret for Pinktober; Drop Your Sword.
Hey, Hey over here. I am going to let you in on a little secret......I am not okay. Some days are hard, I have chronic joint and muscle pain. I am still struggling with body image and self confidence. I am exhausted. The fatigue is crazy. I have chronic diarrhea. Some days I wake up in a panic attack because of my reality.
All of this is STILL going on. STILL living with metastatic breast cancer. STILL no cure. STILL on the same treatment I was on four years ago (praise God). I try not to talk about it everyday. I know what it is like to hear the same person having the same complaints every day. And in your head your thinking I am not calling them back, or you see them and walk the other way or you avoid answering that phone call because you don't want to hear about it again. I don't want to be that person. SO yeah, I have pain and yeah, I have fatigue and other stuff too. IF it does come out and I share my woes then all of a sudden the conversation moves to battle language. Oh you are so strong. You are such a warrior. You are going to beat this. You got this!
Which in and of itself is exhausting. As sometimes I don't feel strong or feel much like a warrior and I feel as if I have to live up to that image and that is overwhelming and makes me feel guilty when I can't be that warrior. It also reminds me of my mortality. Unfortunately, I am in a battle that I can't win. So I am going to drop the sword.
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was so naïve. I wanted to punch cancer in the face. That was my motto. I totally took on the battle mentality. But once you hear that that your cancer is terminal. NO CURE. Cancer has the unfair advantage. There is NO finish line. So winning looks different.
Winning is moments with my family and friends. Winning is doing things that I love. Winning is not allowing myself to crack under the pressure of a terminal diagnosis.
SO I keep on keeping on. I keep my head down (unless it's October). I do my job. I take care of my family. I try to get out there and live my life and tell my story, but it's hard. It is freaking hard. Some days are worse than others, some days my smile might not reach my eyes but I tell you I'm fine because you really don't want to know that my knees hurt so much when I have to go up and down stairs and that my neck is so sore that it feels like I have a stiff neck 24/7. Or how many pairs of pants I have ruined. You don't want to know that all these aches and pains I pray are just side effects of medications and are not a signal of progression.
That is the irony of it all. That I have all this pain and I don't pray for it to go away......I pray that it is not cancer.
I want to put my life with these side effects out in the universe. Maybe some one else is feeling this way too. I want you to know it is okay. Cancer sucks and it is okay to have a bad day. But pull yourself up by your boot straps and keep on keeping on. Make sure you talk tp your oncologist about any side effects you have. Their may be a medications or a change in treatment that will provide a better quality of life. It's a tricky balance of a treatment working and how it makes you feel. Some days I can tolerate it all really well and I don't want to change meds because it it working and other days I am crying in my bathtub. BUT I don't drown. I pick myself back up.
I choose joy and sometimes it is super easy to choose joy. I pick joyful things, I think joyful thoughts, I watch joyful movies. But sometimes I choose joy grudgingly. I pick joy while gritting my teeth and I feel like a total poser because I am not really feeling it. Sometimes I think it is the meds. I get down in the dumps and then I get a little bit of my energy back and I feel a pep in my step and then it starts all over again. It is a crazy cycle. I remind myself it is a viscous cycle and that I need to have grace with myself. Grace that I always encourage other to accept. Why is it so hard to take our own advice? So I am trying on those down days to take a selfcare break, to not beat myself up, knowing that in a few days I will get my pep back.
I am blessed to have the opportunities I have had. I don't want to waste them. That is why I put myself out there. I tell my story. I share my truth. I encourage donating money to research. I hope that if my story reaches one person that is having a hard time dealing with their cancer diagnosis they know they are not alone. If I help one person then all the pain is worth the trouble.
Why do we feel we have to keep the way we feel a secret???
Every year my thoughts during Pinktober change, I assume it is growth from the new lessons I have learned over the year. This year is no different. This year I am dropping the battle language and just going to be me. I can be brave. I can be resilient. I am going to live my best life with terminal stage 4 cancer. IT is no longer a battle. As there is no winning. There is no end to this fight. This is just my life. I am choosing to be well educated about MBC, advocating for research, encouraging and supporting all women and men living with breast cancer; early and late stages.
Of course, being terminally joyful as I navigate the next year and the year after that and after that....... I have big dreams. I won't stop. Dropping the battle language does not make me any less of a bad ass. I am still going hard to change the MBC narrative so that WE can live as long as possible. and make Pinktober a thing of the past.