Susan (of Susan's Special Needs) kept crying while she was helping me find some post-mastectomy clothing yesterday. In doctor's offices, waiting rooms, etc. people keep saying, "but you are so young..." as if this makes having breast cancer so much worse for me. Even outside of doctor's offices and cancer stores, I have the feeling that people are looking at me, with interest, to see what disaster lies ahead. It's sort of like I am creating my own gawker situations, and cars are slowing down to look and see "What happened here? What's going to happen to that poor girl?"
I might be being totally naive, and I may have no idea of what really lies ahead here, but I also have a pretty strong belief that this isn't going to be that bad. I'm know the road ahead may likely involve pain, nausea, exhaustion, mouth sores, drain tubes draining gook out of my armpits, scars across my chest, needles, anesthesia, and things like that. I know that emotionally, I'll have road blocks ahead as well, when I take off the bandages, when my hair falls out, when I can't pick up Nathan, when my husband and girls are crying.
I just don't really have any doubt that I can be bigger and stronger than all of this. I feel like I can climb this mountain and race down the other side through all of the misery that might come with it. I even feel lucky that THIS is my trial, because I know that throughout a lifetime, there will be so many trials. I feel like this is one that I can handle. I remember, after my mom died, saying to myself, and praying to God - "OK, I think I can get through this. Just PLEASE don't take my sisters away from me, and don't take my Dad. I'll do this, but PLEASE don't take them, because I don't think I could handle that, too." It was my big prayer through all of my teen years.
I feel like that now. I can totally handle this, and am thankful that this is my trial. I don't think I'm indestructible, by any means... I still am not sure if I would stay sane through the loss of someone close to me, and am worried that when it happens again, I'll lose it. But this seems to me like just a big, hard, slightly scary journey, but I get to go through it and not watch it happen to someone I love, and I can handle that. I feel lucky about that, and sorry for the people who need to watch this - but even for them, I feel lucky because this could all be so much worse.
I'm just really hoping that Susan (of Susan's Special Needs, I like saying that) doesn't know something I don't know, though she might. More than that though, I'm hoping that since she doesn't know me, it is easier for her to feel sorry and sad. I can put on a really big and bright smile, but I also harbor an awfully tough and mean fighter-girl on the inside. She's the one who's gotten me through hard times before; I have well-founded faith in her. If only I could introduce her to the crying Susans of the world so they would stop freaking me out with their tears before things even start!