A letter to myself...
Happy diagnosis day.
Exactly one year ago you were told the words you never thought you would hear… “You have cancer” and your whole world will crumble.
You will have spent the morning sat in a hospital waiting room with women all a good 20 years older than you, as you were sent for test after test, the realisation dawning on you that it wasn’t good news.
You will have sat and waited for your wonderful husband to drop everything and head straight to meet you so that you didn’t have to go through a biopsy (or hear the results) on your own.
You will never be able to face wearing the outfit you had on that morning ever again… there is a perfectly lovely pair of Valentino trainers sat on a shelf that you can’t bear to put on your feet anymore (in hindsight, should have worn a cheaper pair)
You will break down and cry. You will be more scared than you have ever felt in your life. You will look at your husband in despair as he holds you tighter than he has ever held you before. Trying to stop his own tears falling.
You will wish you had gone to the doctors sooner, and that you had been checking your boobs regularly, rather than just finding the lump by chance… you will wonder, would the prognosis have been better if I had, would I have been able to keep my boob…? So many what ifs.
You will wonder how this happened… you are one of the healthiest people you know, I mean, you eat kale just because you like it, and you workout 5 days a week, but you will realise, cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Your fertility will be taken away from you and the chance to ever have another child naturally will most likely be gone. But you will start to come to terms with that, and realise it could be the opportunity to do something wonderful.
You will feel so alone. Like you aren’t supposed to get cancer at 32, and there is no one for you to talk to, no one who really “gets” it. But then you will meet others on the same journey, the most amazing, inspirational people who will help you with their incredible support, and they will shape your life more than you would ever have thought possible.
You will loose your hair, you will be sicker than you ever imagined, and your body will change beyond all recognition, but you will realise that hair grows back, the nausea will subside, the scars will heal, and your body has been through more than you ever thought it would have to, and it fought for you. You will need to learn to love your new body again, and that is going to take time.
You will get frustrated with yourself that you are weaker and slower than you used to be. The chemo fog will be debilitating at times, but you will learn to laugh about it in time. It gets easier.
You won’t be this fragile forever. It might feel like it right now, but you are at your most vulnerable, and it will get better. You will get better.
You will be angry, and at times feel despair at what has happened and how much has changed, but you will learn how to deal with it, and accept it. Your tears will fall easier than ever before… for someone who never cries, you will be amazed at how much more emotional you will become, and how much more you will FEEL.
From all this, you will learn how strong and brave you truly are… and that you can take on anything life throws at you with a smile on your face.
You will feel gratitude in simple things you never noticed before, and you will learn to never take anything for granted again. Every day you have feels like a gift. That being said, you will still get annoyed by the little things that used to annoy you, and that’s ok too. You will still call someone a fucking twat for not saying thank you when you give way for them. Your cancer diagnosis isn’t a magical gateway into a completely zen existence.
You will see just how loved you are, and feel so lucky to have the best family and friends you could ever have asked for… and you will hold those you love so much tighter after they have stayed by your side, helped you carry your burden, and lifted you up when you needed it the most.
Some people will surprise and disappoint you. It will hurt to see them fade into the background, but at the same time, you will see kindness and love that you have never experienced before. You will see a good in people that restores your faith in the human race, from a stranger through instagram sending you a gift, to regular care parcels, and cooked meals hand delivered to your door by friends and family.
Even after all your treatment is done, and you are “all clear” you will never be able to say those words. You won’t be able to tell people you’re all ok, because you feel like you don’t want to tempt fate.
You are still here, fighting, one year on. You still have a way to go with your recovery but you did it. You made it through. It was tough, oh so tough, the worst year of your life, but it’s done, and now you can move on, knowing that you have learnt so much. You have grown and developed into a better person.
You are a fucking superwoman.