I've heard it over and over again, almost as if it were a broken record spinning non-stop on an old antique turn table. The words fall from the lips so easy and natural like water over a waterfall. "You've got this!", "you're strong!", "You're a warrior!" There is NOTHING easy and natural about finding out you have cancer, much less Stage 4 metastasized. I haven't even begun the fight yet, and I'm already exhausted. Each day that passes, each Doctor's appointment, each scan that comes back I feel less and less "strong", less and less like "I got this" and more and more like a warrior who wants nothing to do with the battle that stands in front of her. Yes I was put on this battle field and all I want to do is turn around a run like hell, but I have this weight un-measurable in pounds that holds me there and tells me, I MUST FIGHT!
The hardest part thus far is putting on a brave face every morning as if it's part of the routine like brushing your teeth or applying makeup. To go out into the world or even into your own living room with your child's bright naive eyes looking you over and "pretending" that everything is alright. As I sit and drink my morning coffee, I google...I google...I google. A dear friend of mine who fought the battle and beat cancer's ass warned me against the internet. She told me it will mess with your head. She was right, but I'm scared. I am searching for a glimpse of my future. I am searching for some sort of hope. I am searching to stay grounded in my fight and to remind myself to never leave the house without my boxing gloves on. As soon as I put my guard down this monster inside me its going to knock me on my ass and then it wins! Cancer gets to take home the belt....it's over!!
What has all the research done? What have I found? What have I learned? Not a whole lot of good! Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women. It is estimated out of 145,600 folks diagnosed this year alone in all stages 51,000 deaths will be attributed to the disease and is the third leading cause of cancer death in woman. In Stage 4 (meaning it has traveled to other parts of the body) the five year survival rate is 15%. FIFTEEN PERCENT! I've never been real good at math, but lets say you put 100 people into a room and randomly select 15 of these people to live. Those are my odds. That is scary as F*ck!!
Last week while at my Oncology appointment the doctor told me. Depending on the results of your P.E.T scan, with stage 4 cancer we are not here to cure you of cancer, but to treat your cancer. This information weighed heavy on my mind as I signed my chemo papers that had the word "treat" circled as their goal rather than circling "cure".
I've also been told and completely agree that your head has a whole lot to do with your journey. I have done nothing but sleep when I'm not at work or a doctor's appointment. I feel sick and dizzy all the time...and why? I don't even have the poison in my body yet. I just went kayak camping a few weeks ago before my diagnosis and paddled more than 21 miles in two days. After that I went on a girls road trip and attended a beer festival and had the time of my life. I'll tell you why I feel so terrible, I'm poisoning myself with my thoughts. You hear, "you are sick" and you make yourself sick! I am feeling sorry for myself and I need to stop!
If I am going to break through these chains, If i'm going to be able to lift this un-measurable weight off of me, If I'm going to be one of those 15 people left standing in that room, I need to get out of my own head! I need to smile through the tears, I need to march through this quicksand that is trying to absorb me, I need to believe that I am stronger and mightier than this disease. In the end if I still lose at least I went out because the cancer overtook my body and not my mind over taking me. There is a difference.
Please keep my kids and husband in your prayers!