UNITED STATES—My family was presented some devastating news last week when we discovered my step mom has breast cancer. I have dealt with cancer in my family, but I would argue I’ve never fully put it into perspective before. My grandfather died from throat cancer, my grandmother was a survivor of breast cancer, as was my aunt, but she later died from pancreatic cancer. My grandfather is a survivor of prostate cancer, as is my uncle, and one of my aunts is currently in the midst of battling breast cancer as well.
I’m not going to say cancer runs in my family, but there are many genetic factors that come into play that is scary. Hearing from someone that they have cancer and the battle that one might endure as a result it is damn scary, there is no other wording I can use to explain the situation to say the least. You immediately start to think about all the bad that can transpire: the surgery, the chemotherapy, the radiation, the sickness, the hair loss, the body breaking down and just that fight to keep your loved one alive.
I found the most haunting and it seemed like it was a higher power talking to me in a way that I never expected this past weekend. How so? It just seemed to happen that all these movies fell into my lap dealing with cancer. I watched this great drama “50/50” starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a young man battle cancer in his spine. His struggle to grasp with the diagnosis, having chemotherapy, being fearful about having surgery, having friends to rely on and a relationship that appeared solid that was not so solid.
The thing that struck me was the chemotherapy. I had no idea that chemotherapy can be such a daunting task. It is a kick in the gut to the person who is getting the treatment. It is NOT easy and it punches the body in ways that you never expect. I learned you sit in a room getting the chemo while others are also in the room.
Some who look like normal people, others not so much like clinging to life and that is not an easy sight to view. We are in a pandemic, but at the same time if I want to have that hope and courage that is difficult to look at so I can only imagine how my stepmom felt learning those details. There are going to be days that you just don’t want to be bothered, you don’t want to be asked how you’re doing. People don’t truly understand what it is you’re battling even though you’re doing all in your power to be strong, there are going to be those moments of weakness, where you want to communicate, but you don’t really know how to do it.
My mind is just running overtime attempting to prepare myself for the journey that is about to take place. There are going to be highs, major lows and struggles, rather I am prepared for them or not, I have to mentally get my mind in the zone to prepare for what is about to come my way America, not just for my stepmom, my family and myself. I’m not battling the cancer, but I am indeed on the journey with the person who is battling the cancer, so I need to be strong for them so that fight inside them doesn’t give up and they push when there are days they don’t want to push.
I don’t know what it is like to hear the words “You have cancer.” However, I do know what it’s like to hear the words from a family member, “I have cancer” and for me to say I’m not scared, I’m not worried would be an understatement. Cancer is scary, it’s a battle, more for the person enduring it than the person who isn’t, and the support you deliver makes a ton of a difference America for the fight to survive.