Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Problem With Guilt

I was diagnosed with Thyca (thyroid cancer) 5 weeks after a family friend, who is about my age was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently doing chemo and is amazingly graceful in her journey. 

When I was first diagnosed with thyca people would say to me, well if you have to have cancer,  it's the best one to have. I am just short of one month into my journey and let me tell you, there is no "best kind" or "the good cancer". It's cancer. It is not good, no matter what. With everything, there is variation of severity. Thyca, is treated in its own way, having its own side effects and impact. I won't have to do chemo because of how thyca developes in the body and spreads within the body. There are many what-ifs that I am trying not to occupy. I am avoiding all the stories out there about cancer spreading, side effects of the radioiodine, long term pain, med management and misinformation in the medical community resulting in a ton of pain and suffering for many. my greatest fear is weight gain for clear and understandable reasons. I hope that my providers hear all my concerns and work with me to figure out the best treatment for me. I hope that I am spared many of the what-ifs.

In the mean time, I am counting the days while trying to remain grounded in what I do know and not hypotheticals.  A co worker told me Friday that she had no idea I was going through this when we would make small talk in the hall. I don't look different but I feel, emotionally, horrible. Guilty that I am struggling and scared even though I have the "good" and "curable" cancer.  I should be grateful it's not worse...or inoperable. THIS was not part of the plan.

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I reached out to my friend Toni this week to ask if I could come out to see her and her beautiful baby Adam, who was born in the fall. She along with my other two best girls from NYU have all lost parents to cancer. They were among the first round of people I told. I knew they would understand and love without judgment. I felt guilty for having cancer and being the first in our group to be confronted with something like this. I'm only 37.... And I am the oldest of us. New babies,  marriages...we should be enjoying all the blessings of.life and friendship and growing through adulthood together. Not. CANCER.

So today, I am on the train heading out to Long Island. I am on the double decker express train that goes all the way to Montauk. I love riding the train. Watching everything go by, the soundtrack of my choosing echoing around my brain. (The music today is the Fifty Shades Soundtrack, which I love. Say what you will about the movie, the music is wonderful.) I can think, reflect, be in the quiet of my own experiences.  I can choose how I want to respond. To face the world and all that it throws at me.

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