Are you kidding me. I can do this, but I don’t want to do this. I’m tired of fighting. Please just let me rest.
They say that if you look back on your life and the majority are happy thoughts, then it doesn’t matter how long or short your life has been because you’ve lived it. In a sense that’s true, that if you’re 24yrs and you can say with confidence “yeah, there were ups and downs but I won’t change a thing”, then you’ve probably had a decent time on this earth. So you should be thankful. Grateful of all the opportunities and experiences you’ve been given. After all, you’ve done more in your 24yrs than most have done in a lifetime. No need to be upset, right?
What if all of a sudden your life expectancy goes from 100% to 83%? What if you’re in the middle of work and all of a sudden you can’t breathe and collapse in the kitchen? What if you’re told that you, a relatively healthy, active, young adult, has a disease that kills? How do you react to that? Do you say “thank goodness they caught it early and it’s treatable?” Do you sit down and say “well it could be worse?” Do you take the news, let it slowly manifest inside of you, and then burst into tears when you accidentally burn your toast, knowing that you’re not upset over the burnt bread but that after all of the silent battles you’ve had throughout your life, you still aren’t allowed to rest. That you’re expected to “stay strong”, laugh it off with friends, comfort your loved ones, and not mention a peep of the rage that has boiled inside of you, in fear that you’ll come off as “annoying”, “attention-seeking”, “dramatic.” How do you tell those closest to you? Do you even bother bringing it up, or just suffer in silence, as you do for most of the things that happen? Do you talk about it? Can you talk about it? It’s on your mind 24/7 and all you want is a break, but it’ll never happen. After all, the disease never quits, so neither can you. So you sit there in silence, let it take it’s toll as you urge it to slow down, and carry on with your day as though you’re not fighting the battle of your life – literally.
My body hurts. My bones hurt. I want to break down and cry. But I can’t do that. Always keep smiling. Laugh it off. Don’t let them know you’re scared. Terrified. Don’t show weakness. No one really cares about your battle.
How do you bring it up? You don’t. They tell you they are there to help but you know it’s just formalities. No one can help. You keep it to yourself. When you get lightheaded, you hide it. You’ve gotten quite good at that now. You slyly grab hold of a wall, a chair, anything to keep you stable. Your esophagus burns from the side effects of your medications. When they tell you to eat something because you look pale, you give them a soft smile and politely decline. I can’t eat. Everything makes me sick. Chemo does that to you. When a coworker points out how your hair has thinned ever so slightly and is turning grey, you laugh it off, saying it’s just stress from work. I pulled out a small clump of hair in the shower this morning, then I cried. But I don’t think I’m going to lose all of it, thank goodness. When it’s the end of the day and you finally get to lay in your ever-so-comfy bed, that’s when it hits you. That’s when you want to scream. Cry. Laugh. Yell. They don’t tell you that the drugs heighten every single emotion you’ve ever had. That for someone who is used to suppressing everything, it’s like being hit by a tsunami. And all of a sudden, you realize how alone you are.
They tell you it’s a group battle, but they are lying.
At the end of the day it’s just you.