Friday, August 1, 2014

Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

This was one of the many messages I received when I watched Stuart Scott's Espy speech.  Many people did not know he is battling cancer and has been for years, but his message is incredible when he received the perseverance award.  If you want to watch it, here is the link.  It will start your August off great...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl_0ieqSi7Q

Yes, yes I know...it's been forever since I have updated my blog.  I feel like a broken record when I say,  "I am going to do better."  I really honestly have every good intention of writing in here more often, but well, you all know the answer to that.  I'll say it again...I'll try to do better.

I do know one thing though, I will never give up.  Giving up is failing.  Making mistakes are OK, but giving up is something that is not in my vocabulary.  It has been 4 years now that I have been cancer free (!!!).  FOUR years.  Looking back it all seems like a blur.  I really had cancer?  I really had this awful disease in my body that was trying to kill me?  I really lost my hair?  I really was sicker than I ever believed I was.  But you know what?  I never gave up.  Yes, I had bad days.  Yes, I cried in privacy.  Yes, I screamed and yelled and wished this would have never happened to me.  I never gave up though.  As my Mom recently said, people always tell you, "gee you look good and gosh you are doing great."  Yes, that's great to hear, but we don't always want to hear that.  Mom said it perfect..."sometimes we just need to unleash our anxiety, woes, fears and tears."  Cancer isn't easy.  It's not fun and it downright sucks.  What sucks even more is that it's with me for the rest of my life.  Not physically, but mentally.  I may have made cancer look easy by the way I handled it, but deep down inside I struggled.

Although it's been four years, I still don't think I have completely grasped the fact that I went through what I did.  People view me different than I view myself from what I went through.  I want to see myself as they see me, an inspiration, the strongest person they know and amazing.  To me, it doesn't really feel like a big deal.  Eh, I beat cancer.  I did what only I knew I had to do.  Win.  Failure was not an option, dying wasn't either.  Four years ago I did something that I pray none of you have to go through.  I have no idea why it doesn't seem like it's a big deal, but I am currently working through these feelings with a professional and releasing this traumatic experience from my nervous system.  It's a slow process and I feel like I am relieving the past, but it is something I need to do for myself.  I know in the end when I come to grasps from what I went through I will feel free.  What I went through was a HUGE deal and when I come to realize this, I will accept this feat for what it is, amazing.

August is scan month.  I have to admit I have "scanxiety."  Do I want to feel like this?  No.  Do I want to wake up everyday and wonder "is it back?"  No.  What was that pain?  Why is my leg swollen?  Is it more swollen than usual?  Was that there before?  You can seriously drive yourself crazy thinking about it and playing the "what if" game.  I honestly will not breathe a sigh of relief until I go into my Doc's office on August 27th and hear him say, "you are fine.  Everything looks good."  I truly believe I am fine,  but the mind is a powerful engine and it can seriously drive you into a tizzy.

It does get easier as the years pass, but then you hear cancer come back in people (Mom for instance).    It's honestly my biggest fear.  I recently watched "The Fault in our Stars."  Great flick.  I was warned to bring tissues.  The only part that chocked me up was the part (***spoiler alert***) that his cancer had returned and he was now terminal.  I can play the "what-if" game my whole life, daily and by the minute, but how healthy is that?  I can't do that.  What I can do is live my life, thinking positive and believing in myself and body that I have done all that I can to keep cancer away from me...forever.

So, in the end my message to you all is to not give up.  Follow your dreams.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  I am pretty sure I have told you all this before, but it seems like lately it has more meaning in my life.  Maybe I am realizing and coming to terms with what I went through.  Maybe it is finally sinking in.  Regardless of what you are faced with in your life, just don't give up.  Promise me that.

Till the next time--

Erin