I’m sitting down relaxing in the evening and suddenly I hear a ding. Then another one. Then three in a row. I grab my iPad and see the conversation that is going on. The zebras are having a blast, chatting away on our group text.
One of them said, ” how come one day I almost myself & the next day I’m practically constipated??” The responses are in-line with, I’m the same way, I often do the bathroom dance…We all know how that one goes…
Then there are statements like “I still bruise so easy & I’m a year out from treatment,” and “Just knocking into something slightly causes a huge bruise.” “I’m so lucky to have you guys to talk to or I’d really go crazy.” We all feel the same way.
We laugh.. we cry..we share our stories.
We are a sisterhood of cancer survivors with the same rare cancer, small cell cervical. Our cancer is so rare our ribbon is teal, white, and black. We are Zebras. These ladies live all over the country, come from all walks of life, but they are my family. Two are under 30 – very young with young children. They can never have children again because of the radiation “treatment.” One is a single mother of three. She can’t work and has to continue to go to chemo treatments while still attempting to support her family. They shouldn’t be in their situations, but they are. So, we try to make the most of it and laugh a lot. As one sister said, “hahaha you guys are all my crazy and I love it.”
As a survivor, it’s important to seek out those who have walked the same road. We turn to each other and all of the superficial melts away. We discuss how our families are handling our situations, we send photos and memes. We offer love and encouragement. But, most of all, we are there for each other when the going gets really tough.
One of the hardest things is to see someone you love go through cancer. You want to be there for that person, but until you’ve actually walked through it, it’s hard to understand the physical and psychological pain we experience, even years after the cancer is gone. We are transformed. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
“My disease has eaten into my spinal cord. I am shocked and at a loss. Just 12 hours earlier they told me everything looked great and now this could be disaster. I’m so f-ing scared right now; I’m afraid to move because my bones are going to start breaking. ”
“Not good news. Cancer is back – I have a recurrence. Time for the Texas cocktail.”
We hear from another sister who is really sick and urges others to get pet scans early because her “tiny” lung nodule turned into a 5 cm mass and collapsed her lung, and she has stage 4 recurrence with metastasis everywhere.
This is our reality. We live every day not knowing whether or not the cancer is going to come back. We know that life and time are precious. We try and “normalize” ourselves, but as I told myself, I have to get used to this new “normal.” We’re tired a lot. We cancel plans; we’re irritable and in pain. We strive to educate ourselves about nutrition, sleeping habits, meditation, and taking it day by day. We know a lot about medical issues that we never knew before, and we pass along this information to others.
“The most Important thing I have to say is, I love u all! Stay strong!!” We tell each other we love each other because it’s so important to say it. One of the great gifts of cancer is PTSD, a side effect from all of the trauma. Sitting there in the infusion center with poison pumping through your body, or keeping your eyes closed as you roll through the radiation tube, getting radiation “treatment” knowing you are destroying your body. Not knowing whether or not you’re going to die. That’s tough.
As one of my sisters said, “People always ask, how do you stay so strong? Well, what am I supposed to do, roll in a ball and die? Heck no!”
So we fight. We fight for ourselves, for our loved ones, for those who are yet to be diagnosed. We share ourselves. I love these ladies with all of my heart. They are my friends. They are my sisters. They are warrior women.
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© 2017 HIME Wellness LLC