One of the most interesting things I have learned in this recently started cancer journey is that shock is not at all what I thought it was. I thought that the experience of “being in shock” was a lot more like the electrical shock you get from walking across a carpet in wooly socks and then touching a metal doorknob. I assumed it was fast and big and obvious even to the one experiencing it.
I was wrong.
The photo above is from Tuesday, December 27, 2016 and it is in the moments after the shock of my diagnosis finally wore off. I genuinely believed that I was handling things perfectly. I was if not cavalier then at least wonderfully accepting of the fact that I had breast cancer. I was ready with jokes. I was nonchalant. I was even a bit flip. But here it was- real and raw and scary as hell. I felt overwhelmed. I felt angry. I felt confused. I felt guilty, a feeling I never knew I’d associate with this even remotely. Most of all, I just felt loss. I’m not going to try and tear down those feelings right now. I’m just going to feel them without analysis. Tomorrow I find out a lot more about my immediate future and I am going to allow myself to feel however I need to feel for now.
You may ask yourself why I took a photo. I was inspired, as I so often am, by a friend who has a chronic illness. She takes “sick selfies” to chronicle her pain to share with others in her position. It also helps people who do not understand the life of the chronically ill to gain some insight. I am hoping that I can, in some small way, help other people with cancer some day.
So, I cannot leave you with a lesson or anything I learned this time. Today it’s just about allowing myself to feel. Tomorrow we plan.