I dropped my daughter at the high school for her dress rehearsal. I was feeling out of sorts but no tears. Well the gods decided that they would help me out in that front. While walking out of the high school – I proceed to trip and swan drive onto the pavement in front of several students. I fell hard – shoes flying off, purse flying – jeans ripped – elbow scraped – I’m sure it was a sight to see. It was an epic face plant. I have to get help to sit up and need to take a few minutes to get my bearings. I’m literally seeing stars. Someone has told my daughter and she comes running out in a panic to see how I’m doing. Great, just what I need! I’m keeping a stiff upper lip while I limp to my car and tell her I’m just fine. Come on, really? I just get a cancer diagnosis and now this? I’m feeling life is a little unfair right now.
Once I’m in my car, I call my husband. He answers and the dam breaks. I’m hysterical and sobbing. In addition to the embarrassment of swan diving in front of the entire dance studio, I’ve ripped my jeans, skinned my knee and my arm feels like it’s broken. Poor Bob, he can’t understand what I’m saying and since it was about an hour after the cancer call – he thinks I’ve gotten additional news on the cancer diagnosis. He obviously knows I’m hysterical and says “What? There’s more cancer?” I sob out: “Nooooo! I fell and skinned my knee and it’s bleeding – waaahh!” There was a long silence then: “You’re crying about that and not about the cancer?” Looking back, it was a release of tension and to be honest even though I was battered and bruised it was good to cry. At that point, I realize that releasing that tension and having a good cry helped me immensely. Another lesson learned – you don’t always have to be brave. A good cry helps every now and again.
I had phoned my husband, one of my sisters and my best friend. They wanted to talk or come over and comfort me. I wanted to be alone. I needed to be alone. I know, I know I said I felt alone earlier but I wanted to regroup and process this information by myself. I didn’t want to offend anyone but I needed time by myself. This comes back to what I wrote earlier, there is no “right way” to handle having cancer. I’m sure there were family and friends who didn’t understand this, but this is what worked best for me. I was caring about me, something I hadn’t done in a really long time.
I sat in my rocker, with my ever faithful, dog, Winston, on my lap, alone in my thoughts. I felt powerless. I didn’t want this. I didn’t choose this. I had no control over the fact that I had cancer. I thought about my father that night. He died of melanoma. When he received his diagnosis, he was already at stage 4. One of my sisters was crying and he said to her “Don’t cry for me. This is what God gave me and you just handle it.” He was so right. I had no control over the fact that I had cancer, but I could control how I reacted to it. Not allowing cancer to control me gave me back some power.
I can honestly say I never went to “Why Me?” This was my life path. Everyone has a story. Everyone has something. This was mine. I was on another journey. One that I was sure would teach me many things. Little did I know that when the journey was done I would look at them as gifts.
After much contemplation, I resolved to have a can-do attitude and let only positive energy flow. I decided then that no matter what the outcome of this “wild ride”, I wasn’t going to let it control me. Hysteria wasn’t welcome – calm and peace would be my friends. Okay I’m not saying hysteria wouldn’t show up now and then but when it did I’d try bring in calm and peace.