I have cancer that is not visible. It’s there and growing, and it seems to be no medical priority to anyone on my “care team”.
At this point, almost 10 weeks since the tumors were discovered, it is old news deeply buried in the editor’s pile of things that aren’t really considered pressworthy; at least not right now.
My mom was already dead from cancer in this exact time period.
I am the unwritten page. It feels like this whole torturous process is bordering on abusive neglect of ethical humanity.
Cancer lives in me. Cancer permeates me. It is there in my head, heart, breast, soul, and body every second, minute, and hour of every day that I remain a stagnant nothing to anyone who can do anything about it.
It’s in one breast but feels like both. My entire being has become riddled with cancer anxiety, and I have no fucking idea how to plod through any given day; I try to be the mom and wife I want to be, I take a stab at the job I am afraid I will lose, and I attempt to cook a meal once a week. Any portion of any of those tasks leaves me completely exhausted, and then the guilt that I am not “doing cancer better” sets in.
I cannot make sense of anything. I get lost in my own neighborhood. My entire existence is a question with no answer, and I’m pretty sure my family, if given the option, would avoid me at all costs. It’s a wonder any of them even come home any more, knowing that they have no idea which version of me is going to be on the other side of the door. I think they know I am trying, but it has to be scary as hell for them too. I’m too much for my own self to deal with, so they surely dread me as much or more than I dread myself.
I don’t want to be scared and mean and on edge and bitchy. I don’t want to be any of the worst qualities about myself that have become my prevailing behavior. I’m trying to not be shit yet I keep finding myself buried at the bottom of a shit filled porta-potty trying to dig my way out, and the cycle of self-hate and shame starts all over again. I need a Bobcat to excavate my entire being and start over.
My pod of human connection has become so small…most people are too scared to talk to me, and my closest connections have become random conversations with strangers who also have or are cancer survivors. We are not afraid of each other. We get the fear. We fear and can talk about the unknown. We share tears and shots and hugs of gratitude that we have each other even though we have just met.
We understand what it feels like to be scared as fuck. And somehow that knowing makes it a little less scary for us all.