Monday, October 4, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - And I Have a Rant...

Why does everyone think that just because I survived breast cancer, I can do just about anything? “My goodness, you have overcome so many other challenges – this should be a piece of cake for you” is what I hear. All. The. Time. Just because I was unlucky enough to have breast cancer and have to go through the treatment to get rid of it does not mean that I’m strong, or that I have will-power, or that I can do anything that needs to be done. Seriously?!

Sure, I do consider myself to be a strong person – cancer has nothing to do with that. Some days I still have a hard time comprehending the fact that I had breast cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it was devastating news to hear at thirty seven years old, but it almost didn’t seem real. I did a lot of crying and I did a lot of suffering, but in hindsight it seems like it was just a really bad cold or flu. I didn’t ask for it, but I got it. All I could do was fight it and wait and eventually it went away. Chemotherapy drugs are a bit stronger than most cold medicines and the many surgeries I had were quite extreme; radiation therapy was like several long days at the beach that left me burned, tired and with a permanent mystery rash called “radiation recall” which, it seems, may just want to stick around for the rest of my life! It was all part of the treatment plan to get rid of the cancer, not really a choice I actively made.

When I was diagnosed, my daughters were 18 months- and 3 years-old. The way I saw it, I had no choice but to go through whatever I needed to go through in order to beat it and be able to watch my daughters grow up. I. Had. No. Choice.

So when I’m trying to “accomplish” something like losing weight, which is a choice that takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment and a lot of patience, don’t tell me that it should be a piece of cake after everything I’ve accomplished! It’s not! I survived cancer. It was hard and life sucked really badly for over a year. I did it because I had to. I didn’t have a choice except to live or die and that’s not the same. In some ways, the battle to lose weight is - and may continue to be – harder than cancer! Cancer was in a way easy to fight because I did not have a choice if I wanted to live. It was hard, but it wasn’t a lot of work (like trying to lose weight is.) I’m tired of people thinking that I can accomplish anything because of what I’ve accomplished by battling cancer.