Reality. It creeps up like a serious you know what. Reality being that cancer is a club that no one wants to be in. Today I learned that someone I have followed in the journey for a while entered hospice. Hard ugly cry. When I say that there is a raw that will never go away for me, that raw is broken open again like a fresh wound shredding my heart once again. Tears streaming down. Tonight is a night where I just don’t want to deal with it, cancer that is.
Trust me, I have asked myself a hundred times over, why the hell me. I have looked up above and asked that same question probably a million times too. If you tell me that it’s because I am “strong” I might actually punch you (probably not, but you catch my drift). Honestly, really bad things can happen to really good people and there isn’t an explanation or at least not one that I have found. Questions that I really want to know the answers to and don’t want to know all at the same time.
Then I look to fellow survivors that surround me and I ask the same question, why them. When a fellow survivor enters hospice, hears the word metastatic, or their time on earth comes to an end it hits the other fellow survivors who know them or follow them HARD. Like a punch in the gut, then a kick to the face, hard.
We get dropped into this club that absolutely no one asked for and no one really wants to be in. It’s full of ribbons and walks but we need more research not just ribbons. I’m not saying take away the ribbons or the awareness because we need that too. I am just saying we need lots more research. This is why I’ve been a fan of anything to do with Purdue University Cancer Research Center because that’s where I want my dollars to go to, research.
Do you know for Metastatic Breast Cancer only 7% of funding goes to research for MBC. For Metastatic Ovarian Cancer that funding is even less with a 5 year survival rate of less than 25%. Since the Nixon era claimed the “war on cancer” lung cancer gets the shaft on funding and is one of the biggest cancer killers in the country. Should cancer spending be focused on the most common cancers or the most deadliest? There should be more of a balance and they aren’t easy questions because it literally means some will live and some will die.
It’s a tough club that often feels lonely. I am fortunate to have a dear friend, who is my same age, who walks the journey with me. I thank God every single day for her. There aren’t many of us, those under the age of 35 who are diagnosed with cancer. Those of us still raising a family, in the prime of our careers, where picking out a babysitter for date nights was supposed to be our biggest challenge, yet here we are in this club. We are having conversations with our children about cancer instead of the boogie man. We are the mortality reminder for those at the grocery store. We are the awkward mom connections at school functions because it doesn’t move as fluid as it used to, mainly because we get the head tilt and the frown face of pity. I can take a lot of things but I will never accept your pity, straighten up those necks and look at me head on because you can take that pity and shove it. We are the few, the ones who worry about whether we will be here to raise our children. The ones who may not have had children or the ones who wanted to add to their families but now can’t. I am in the club inside of the club.
My hope and prayer for the future is that I never have to say to another person, “welcome to the club no one wants to be in.” It’s a foolish hope and prayer unfortunately. One day, perhaps we will get there, where we live in a world without cancer, likely not in my lifetime though. It reaffirms why I am entering into a 2 year clinical study. I will be part of the solution, the research, I will be present in this lifetime and pave the way for others that follow me.
Today is just one of those days where all the feels hit me at once. Today is a tough day. Cancer, you suck.
Tomorrow is a new day. I will support the fighters, admire the survivors, and honor the taken. This evening though, I cry.