Skip to main content

#CancerSucks, But.....

Today is truly a beautiful morning. The sun is streaming in through my lanai and casting light just across the hardwood floor in the living room, over a child's chair and onto a pile of stuffed animals. When I follow the light, it leads me to the corner piled with my children's toys and blankets that are a source of fun, and at times, comfort. Anytime I think of those boys, my eye is on the prize.

The prize that gets me past the anxiety of the day, which today, is an appointment with the oncologist. I'll meet my doctor for the first time, hear his opinion on what other treatment(s) I should have, if any. It could be chemo, drug infusions, endocrine therapy, all of them, some of them, or none of them (that's unlikely). But as I woke, and the sun streamed through, the first thought that crossed my mind as I stood over the sink was, "If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it."  And I said out loud to myself, "God will lead you through it, Richelle." (Well, Him and half a valium, haha!).

There's so much to get through when you have a cancer diagnosis, and I've only been through half of it. #cancersucks gets hashtagged, put on t-shirts, added to posters, but I promise you, unless you've walked through it, you don't know half the reason cancer sucks. It's not just because it makes you sick, or takes loved ones from us. It's not just because you have to go through grueling surgeries, recoveries and medical treatments.

#cancer sucks because:
- it steals your everyday routine
- it fills your calendar with sometimes daily appointments
- it robs you of daily joy
- it lets anxiety and worry creep in
- it becomes the only thing you think about
- it puts you out of work (albeit temporarily)
- it runs your finances dry
- it requires medical tests that are painful, nerve wracking and confusing
- it requires surgery that puts life on hold
- it requires someone else to wash your hair
- it requires someone else to dry you off after a shower
- it breaks your heart when someone else has to hug and hold your kids when they're crying for mommy
- it leaves you feeling inadequate when others have to do so much
- it stresses your spouse and loved ones who carry the load and wonder how else they can help

I can't reach into cabinets, I can't pick up a jug of milk, I can't open a pill bottle. Even with button up shirts, I can barely get my arms in to get to the buttoning.

But today, cancer does not suck. I woke up for the first time in two weeks without pain, without the shooting nerve sensation at my incisions, without nausea and without anxiety.

I woke up today, with the light streaming in, pulling my gaze to a corner of comfort, to the corner that puts my eye on the prize before I begin the arduous, and sometimes humiliating task, of getting dressed, having my hair brushed, and having someone else drive me to the next step, the next appointment, the next doctor who will inevitably make my head spin with information and present me with choices I don't want, choices that are not good, choices that have to happen.

#Cancersucks, and you don't know the half of it; in fact, neither do I, because I'm not even halfway through it, but in this moment today, in this beauty of light, cancer does not suck. It just becomes a blip, a thing, a part of my life that's becoming the everyday norm, a norm I'm learning to live with, a norm I'm learning to manage and accept a little more every day.

#Cancersucks, but therefore, by the Grace of God, go I.


  1. AND all those things that others who love you are doing for you right now - guess what? - you'd do the very same for them. You are not inadequate. You are a fighter and a survivor, doing what you need to do. Keep leaning on those everlasting arms of Jesus. Love you.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Life After Losing a Boob

It's not at all how I thought it would be. After I was diagnosed with high grade DCIS breast cancer and learned that a mastectomy would be my best option, I wasn't too phased about the fact I would be losing part of what makes every woman a woman. That's because even before I was diagnosed, from the time I went in for the biopsy in fact, I had already decided if I had cancer, both of those babies were coming off.

When the doctor laid out the options, I told her immediately I had already thought about it, and I wanted a bilateral mastectomy, both breasts removed. Part of what made that decision okay for me was that I was a candidate for direct implants. All of it would happen at once. There would be no 12-15 month period of time for me to go through reconstruction. The surgery would be long, but I would wake up looking like I did (minus the bruises, incisions, bandages of course) when I went in to the operating room.

When the first plastic surgeon disagreed with that option…

The day I don't want .... or do I?

Tomorrow is a paradox. A day I don't want to happen. I day I do want to happen. A day I wish never had to happen. A day that has to happen.

To say I have been anxiety ridden would be an understatement. I had a couple good weeks there. Work and life kept me busy and the doctor appointments had trailed off as we prepared. Then, they ramped back up. Then, work came to an end.

That day was harder than I imagined; actually, I didn't imagine it and perhaps that's what made it so hard. I decided not to keep it from the staff I supervise and people I work with regularly. I decided that HIPPA may prevent folks from asking, but in the end, why would women not share this? Why would I not want someone else to hear this story? Why would I not want the opportunity to say, yeah, it's happening and you know what, it's all because I got a mammogram. I will forever advocate for that test, for as long as I live, for as long as I can share. My livelihood is telling stories, having peo…

My Head is Spinning

It's easy to explain a cancer diagnosis. It's NOT easy to explain what happens after it. The physical part is the easy part. Doctors tell you what to expect, survivors tell you what to expect, everyone seems to have a good handle on that (although, trust me, there are still things people leave out - like how cavernous your armpit will be once those lymph nodes and all that tissue is removed! I'm still struggling to find a way to shave. Can someone invent a razor with a spherical head please?).

It's not over when surgery is over, though. There's more to come. For some, it's chemo, radiation, infusions and drug therapy. For others, like me, it's reconstruction and more surgeries, recovery and rehab.

But the thing is, in between those surgeries there's this sort of
"down time." You're going on with life, trying hard not to look too long in the mirror, trying hard not to dwell on the still long road ahead, trying hard not to sink into the …