One day, whether you agree with me or not - your mindset about this trauma will start to shift but until then cry it out, cuddle it out, Netflix it out, feel all the emotions and most importantly eat only delicious things to block out the thoughts. In the meantime, hopefully by sharing my story, I’ll be able to inspire you to see things differently so that you can go from all the feelings of *the day that changed your life* to feeling positive, strong, capable, and like you’re thriving (as well as surviving) daily.
These were all the thoughts running through my head when my doctor told me the nodule in my neck was cancerous. I’d seen what cancer means firsthand, first in high school when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’d seen it again when my father had surgery for melanoma. The night my doctor called with my test results, I was with my sister as she recovered from her most recent reconstruction surgery after her second fight with breast cancer. My family knows cancer.
“Cancer Mom" -- I know you’re not yet used to that title. It’s a title I never wanted, either. None of us did. I still remember the first time that someone called me a "cancer mom" -- my reaction was reminiscent of a shudder. The title feels like a shoe that doesn't quite fit right. A waistband that is too tight and uncomfortable. It hurts. You want to keep tugging at it to make it feel better. You eventually want to rip it off. Well mama, you now belong to a club to which you never wanted an invite.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is a big job. Depending on how advanced their illness is, the patient may depend on you for everything from feeding to mobility and medication management. When all your energy is focused on supporting their well-being, it's easy to neglect your own health and happiness. Unfortunately, this can leave you feeling completely drained and devoid of energy.
It’s been a great week here at camp, but a tough one for the cancer community. I’ve gotten to know so many incredible people through the work I’m doing, and it often feels like I know them. These are people I’ve never met in person, whom I feel a deep connection to because of our mutual life experience. I cheer for their highs and feel the pain of their lows.