Surviving Cancer: We get through it.

I’ve had some phenomenal supporters throughout my journey. I have supporters who have been with me from the start, some who came in at the middle, and some who are just joining me now. I always say that is one of the many things I am thankful for, the people who stayed with me, put up with me, and joined me in my journey.

On the other hand, I’ve also met my fair share of negative, arrogant, ignorant people. I never thought I would come across those types of heartless people. Not that I like to use the “cancer card” but seriously, when someone has cancer, you just typically “understand” you just “get it.” Right? Or is that just me?

I specifically remember someone who told me only a few months of being diagnosed that I just needed to “get over” the fact that I had cancer. I was floored and immediately wanted to take my foot, and give this person a swift kick in the ass out of my life. Which, later I did, but, in a much nicer way. I have learned the most important part of a happy and healthy life is to get rid of negative, unsupportive people.

Do you really get over anything traumatic life? Whether it is cancer, death, or heartbreak do you just“GET OVER IT?” You more so get through it. Sure, if it’s something petty you might get over it. For example, if your friend wants to go to Chipotle for lunch but you want Qudoba – you might just get over it because that is petty and stupid. However, something that is life changing or traumatic like cancer – you don’t just get over it. You get through it.

Typically when you “get over” something, that means you don’t have to deal with it anymore. It’s gone. Dunzo. See ya.

The reality with cancer is it never really goes away. If you are just starting your journey, please don’t jump to conclusions and reach for a brown paper bag to breathe into. I promise you it gets better and it isn’t that bad. I was always searching for my cancer to go away until I accepted the fact that it will always be hanging around. Now that I have accepted that, it has gotten a little better.Every now and then, cancer will creep up behind you with scanxiety*. Or you’ll randomly remember where you were when you got diagnosed. Sometimes the vivid memory of telling your family and friends hits you when you least expect it. How can you get over feelings like this? The truth is, you cant. You keep pushing through them, dealing with them, and accepting them.

A perfect example: Just the other night, I was unpacking some things because I just moved. What was I unpacking? A random tote of pills. I have acquired lots of pills, like any other chronically ill person. I have my own damn pharmacy for crying out loud. I was going through each pill bottle to see if I really needed it and tossing the ones that I didn’t. As I was tossing pills into the trash I thought to myself. Shit. Are you really supposed to be tossing out drugs like this? So, what do I always do when I have questions pertaining to drugs? I text my own personal pharmacist best friend, Abby. She told me to make sure I ripped off the labels and shredded them – or I could wait until Walgreens did a drug take back. There was something very invigorating about ripping off that damn label and shredding it and throwing those pills away. Kind of like “hey cancer; fuck you and all your drugs!!” In the mix of listening to hip-hop, (because country music would have been far too depressing for my ripping rage) I come across hospital bands. I immediately wanted to break down right then and there. I froze. Memories of MRIs, CTs, sitting in the waiting rooms, surgeries, treatments, everything comes flooding back. These are times where I don’t know if being alone is better than being with someone.

Is it a little morbid to save all these (not even sure how many I have, but I have more than what is pictured)? Some people might say yes. I say no, because I have kept a lot of different things. I have kept every card, I have taken various pictures, and I have kept letters. I don’t see EHE as all negative and I want to remember what I went through, and how I fought.

Right now, I am struggling. I’m struggling with my 1-year cancernniversary. I debated whether or not to admit this on my blog, but I figured why not, it could help someone, somewhere who could be struggling. I am coming up on a year of my initial diagnosis. Not only that, but a year ago I started the scary of process of not knowing what was wrong.

A year ago, I thought I just had mono. I lay on a table in a room and knew something else was wrong. The radiologist tech was calling people saying, “Looks like there are four” and she left the room to talk to someone. I asked my mom what was going on and I could tell she was scared too. She told me she didn’t know and I started to quietly cry, tears streaming down my face. My first thought was actually breast cancer because early in the semester I had abnormal pains in my left breast but my doctor did a breast exam and dismissed it and said nothing was wrong.

It’s almost been a year. Some days it feels like it’s been a decade. Other days I feel like this year has flown by and I can’t believe how much has changed in just a year. If I’m struggling, does one really “get over” cancer? CAN one really get over cancer? No. You get through it. You keep on keepin’ on.

I’m scared for June 3rd 2015. I’m scared for the emotions I will have. I don’t know how that day will go and I don’t know what I will do that day to make it easy. I know that I don’t want to be in Kearney because that will bring back too many memories. I know that I don’t want to be at home, because that will bring back terrible memories of our first emergency family meeting. Which hurt so bad. I don’t think there is anything worse than being in a room where you’ve grown up in, shared family holidays and happy memories and have to sit there and watch the people you love cry uncontrollably. Not to mention my mom and I completely blindsided them with this news because no one was expecting any of this.

One thing I do know for sure is, every year will get easier. Each year I will continue to get through this thing called life with cancer – and each year I will stay a survivor.

If you’re reading this and you are battling – you can get through this too and don’t let anyone tell you that you need to “get over it.”

*Scanxiety: When you have a day of MRIs or CTs and have to [patiently] wait for the news if you are cancer free or not. Will you get back on that treadmill of doctors appointments and treatment? Or will you stay idle again for 3 more months, 6 more months, or a year?  Or perhaps, you will get lucky and be pushed out even longer for your next appointment. 

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3 thoughts on “Surviving Cancer: We get through it.

  1. Julia Wahl says:

    Cried a little while reading this….ok, I cried a lot. My daughter has EHE and we just passed her one year cancerversay. We celebrated….celebrated that we are still here a year later and we are better people than we were a year ago. I will share this blog with Delaney!

    Like

    • ajustlivejourney says:

      I’m hoping they are comfort tears! I will celebrate too, and for the same reasons! It’s a blessing that EHE has bettered us a people and made us grow and that does deserve to be celebrated. And of course, it deserves to be celebrated that I am still here showing cancer who is in charge! I hope that when Delaney reads this she too can relate! xoxo, KJ.

      Like

      • Julia Wahl says:

        Delaney definitely relates. To this specific entry and especially to the one about telling your friends and family you have cancer. We told family, but I told her it was her story to tell and gave her the choice when and if to tell her friends and classmates. EHE is definitely a hard cancer to explain and she is still explaining a year later. She is only 14, but is also a beautiful writer and she has talked about starting a blog, too. She also wants to be a doer too and to see the world. We also adopted the “just live” motto. I hope you continue to write here so Delaney has somebody to relate to and look up to. She also thinks you are beautiful!

        Like

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