Thursday, July 28, 2011

Love, Love, Love

So, you're cleared of cancer (for the moment), you've had all the surgeries, and maybe some kinds of treatments, you're starting to feel normal again, you're technically NED (No Evidence of Disease). How do you start living your life again and leave Melanoma behind?

Easy answer. You don't.

You see, through my journey I've read a group of websites and blogs by people who were going through or have gone through the same thing. Besides my family, these websites and blogs were critical in helping me get through. From reading them and friending some of them on Facebook I've come to care about these people, even if I've never spoken to them. There's something that happens once you get cancer, suddenly everyone that has your type of cancer is family, and you want to support your family through the good times and the bad. Just because I'm NED doesn't mean I plan to ditch the sites I read, stop caring about the people that are fighting every day, being happy for the ones that are NED like me. Of course, that route has it's risks. Sometimes the people you've read about for a while... they get worse. Really worse.

And sometimes they die.

I admit when that happens my heart breaks and I freak out a little. Could that be me someday? Will it? Why that person? Why their poor family? No one deserves this. The last time this happened, I believe it was last week, it sent me into a panic attack that only Xanax could get me out of. Sometimes life isn't fair, and Melanoma sucks every single day that there is no cure for it. It sucks the life out of people and breaks the hearts of everyone that witnesses it. My family says to stop reading the cancer blogs, stop going to the websites. Just STOP and be happy it's not me and get on with my life.

I can't do that. I just can't. Why? Because together we are stronger. When I had my lymphocintigraphy shots done, I kept thinking "I'm gonna kick this in the ass, then go home and tell everyone online about how brave I was!!". And it worked. Those shots hurt like bloody hell, but if I had to paint rainbows on my face and wear a bikini to get through it, I would have. Just the thought of how proud my family and friends would be of me (and that includes online friends) was what helped me walk into Nuclear Medicine and say "Bring it!".

My family loves me. I know that. Especially my sister Deni that lives with me. She's the one who I cry to when the world gets too much. My mom has had ovarian cancer, she knows the constant fear of "will it come back?". These two people are the most affected when I freak out, have a panic attack, or get depressed, so I can understand why they don't want me reading the Melanoma blogs. I'm not wallowing in the negative, living in cancer-land, concentrating on the negative. I'm sharing and supporting in the new family that I've become a member of. I want to help others that have just been diagnosed and are scared out of their wits. I want to tell the ones that have to have surgery that they are stronger than they think they are, and it will be ok. And when someone dies, I want to add my heartbreak to theirs in the hopes that their family will feel the love and support and take comfort in it. But mostly, I want to be an advocate for Melanoma Awareness. I can't do that if I hide my head in the sand.

So what's the answer? Keep reading the cancer blogs or stop?

The answer is balance. Live my life, laugh, love, be happy for the good things I have. Support those that need support, and when times get hard... cry, ask for help, get support from friends and family. Because Melanoma is a part of my life now, and that's never going to end. I know too much about this disease to know that I'll ever be far from it. It can come back any time, in my liver, lungs, brain, anywhere. And if I'm one of the lucky ones that remain NED for a long time, I hope to spend that time supporting others while living my life.

In the immortal words of Eva Markvoort, who has been a huge inspiration for me, "It's all about the love. Love, love, love".

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely IS all about love.

    Loved this post.