It makes me that much stronger;
Makes me work a little bit harder;
It makes me that much wiser;
So thanks for making me a fighter

In November, I visited my OB/GYN to get a Pap smear and an IUD. A few weeks later, I received a phone call from the doctor, requesting a biopsy. I panicked when hearing the word and waited to after the holiday season to make the appointment. Two weeks ago, I held my friend’s hand as my doctor performed a colposcopy.  After three days of waiting for him to ring, my doctor called.

Cancer. The dreaded C-word, or how I lovingly refer to it, CC (cervical cancer).

Every day, I tell myself that I’m going to be okay, that CC is not a death sentence. This was caught early and I’m still young. My body and spirit are both fighters and I’m going to get through this. However, telling myself this is completely different than believing it. 

My friends who know me really well have told me that I’m being positive about the entire thing. They’re impressed with my outlook and perkiness. But frankly, my positivity is a front. I’m freaking out on the inside. For the last two weeks, I’ve been beating myself up for not taking care of better care of my body and for ignoring my health. I’ve spent hours projecting into the future, thinking about everything from surgical scars to cancer coming back in my old age to chemotherapy and losing my hair. (I do owe credit to the Paxil that I’m on. If I wasn’t on it, I would never leave my bed.)

My OB/GYN recommended a hysterectomy. I’m meeting with an oncologist later in the week to verify these claims but I’m already thinking about that word. Hysterectomy. It sounds ugly and depressing… I want to have a family. I’ve always wanted to. To one day be pregnant and have a little person growing inside of me. During major bouts of depression, when things felt especially hopeless and looked dark, the thing that kept me going was the thought of one day, me being a mom. I’ll have a kid that looks like me. Maybe they would have my eyes or my skin color. Maybe they would have my childhood lisp. I’ll look at them and see what my body meticulously created and perfected. And now, I terrified that that won’t happen. I know that I’m jumping to conclusions and there are others surgery options (I’m currently looking at a cone biopsy). There are also SO many ways to have a family these days. But my heart is still heavy. I get consumed with thoughts like if maybe certain relationships didn’t end, I could be married with a kid now. What would happen if that one pregnancy scare wasn’t a scare? The ifs and should’ve/would’ve/could’ve bounce around my brain. 

Cancer is such a scary word in general and to add it into my mix of all the other pieces in my mess of a life right now… POW! I’m terrified about the status of my job and losing my health insurance (my boss gave me an ADA Medical Status Evaluation Form earlier today and I had a small panic attack, thinking that she was going to take my job responsibilities away from me). I just started seeing this wonderful man but I already gave him an out. Cancer is incredibly heavy for a relationship that’s only a month old and I’m an emotional person. The other relationships in my life shifted. My friends reach out with their concerns and I don’t want to talk about it at all. They’re offering me support and advice and I brush it all in under the rug. I’m continuously asking to change the conversation when the talk goes cancer. I don’t want pity- I just want to be healed and move on with my life. 

I am going to move on from this, though. It’s just another chapter in my crazy choose-your-own-adventure of a life. My friends already call me a cancer survivor. I’m going to have surgery and I’m going to be fine. The last few days when my brain is spinning and it tell me, “Your life sucks,” I counter that thought and say, “Nah, your life is interesting.” I think about all the experiences I’ve had, all the places I’ve lived and people I’ve met and I grateful on how things fell perfectly into place. Life is going. I’m going. I’m moving and shaking. And my CC and my negative thoughts and feelings around it are, too (buh-bye).

But still… fuck cancer, dear reader. 

7 thoughts on “#CancerThoughts

  1. Gary Barbato says:

    Andrea…life will always be “interesting “…and it sounds to me that you want to keep your very interesting , rewarding life aflame as long as possible. By carrying on the fight. For yourself and all your loved ones and friends. that care about you so. You’re in my thoughts Andrea and hope that if you want someone to share with sometime you’ll think of me. Yes…fuck cancer..


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