"Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness."
Last night I had my first ‘cancer nightmare’. Surprised I never had one until now. It's been over a year since being diagnosed, and not one cancer nightmare? Hmmmmm, I guess I should be grateful. Either way, as scary as it was, I think I learned a big lesson from it.
So, in the dream I was going to the doctor to have a check up. Then, without any explanation, they said I needed to have some more chemo. The chemo was in the form of a pill I was supposed to take. AND, I was supposed to schedule a throat/esophagus surgery the next day, because since my cancer was stage 4, there was a very high chance that is was going to go into my throat and esophagus, so I needed to take them out. The procedure would be long, and I was told that after a lot of physical therapy, I still might slur my words, or lose my voice. Needless to say, I was so upset! Angry in fact! I wanted to talk to my oncologist, where was he? I was so livid that this wasn’t explained to me on day 1. I felt like I was being raped in a way, and I couldn't understand why.
I remember, in the dream, I had all of my hair back, and I was about to take a pill that would take my hair away. That alone was so upsetting. Such a defeat. All this time I spent recovering, only to be wiped away by one pill. I remember yelling at my husband in the dream, ‘there’s no f’’’’’cking way I’m doing a surgery without knowing anything about it'. The doctor, I felt, gave me no answers on why I needed it other than preventative surgery, and he didn’t even know what type of cancer I had. He didn't KNOW me, and he didn't care.
So, in the dream, I decided to do my own research, and I emailed Shannon Doherty (apparently we had run in to each other at some party and discussed cancer and exchanged numbers and emails... funny how intricate dreams can be). So, I emailed her, I remember thinking she had a really cute email font. I asked her if she had to have throat surgery and what it was all about. She emailed back right away, which I thought was cool and strange at the same time. She said YES, she did have the throat surgery. AND, coincidentally, she was sitting with her doctor who operated on her, and would I like to come meet up with them.
WOW, I thought, this must be a blessing?? So, I met up with her and her doctor, he was from NYC, and in Los Angeles 3 months out of the year. He said he could do my surgery. I asked him all my questions. Why do I need to remove my throat it if I only had breast cancer? Is there a chance I lose my voice? Is there a chance I will get throat cancer if I do NOT do the surgery? How long can I wait until I have to get the surgery?
He answered all of my questions, but not in the answers I wanted. Basically, he said because I had stage 4 cancer, it was a very wise surgery to do. He said I could wait up to 9 years to decide to do it. Ugh, I felt. I wanted to wait, but I also wanted to get it over with, because if not, it would just be lingering over my head. I remember seeing Shannon Doherty happy and healthy, and that I would have never known she had throat surgery. She could talk normally, and there were no scars. So, that lessoned my fear, however, I was still really really really really pissed off...and that’s where the dream ended.
I spent all morning trying to analyze this crazy dream. The feeling in the dream was 'OMG, this is scary, this was thrown on me without any warning, my doctors never mentioned it, I never heard about it, and now, this was the life I'm living?' It was very scary. I was so angry in the dream, more so than I ever felt in real life. Or allowed myself to feel. And then, it dawned on me. I've been living this healthy, positive, hopeful, grateful life, that has definitely helped my recovery, and most likely, saved my life. However, where did all of my anger go? Cancer was happening to me, taking my life as I knew it away from me, without any warning or any say. My life was raping me, cancer was raping me, and I had no outlet for rage. I guess it's hard to be angry when you're fighting for your life. There isn't much time for anger.
But it seems, rage is living inside of me, in my subconscious. And maybe now that my journey is almost over, maybe now, the rage feels safe to come out. Maybe the rage will get it’s say through my dreams, and be able to work itself out. I hope so. Even though I still believe most of what I've experienced was the opposite. Most of what I experienced is life is precious, each moment is precious, and life is a gift, and one day, that gift will be taken away.
But you know what? Even with that truth, that really sucks!!! And it makes me feel powerless... and I HATE being out of control! I HATE that this happened to me, and stole a year and a half of my life away. I HATE that I lost my hair and lost my health! I HATE that I was so close to dying. I HATE that I had to have my breasts taken from me. I HATE that my ovaries are next, and I will have to go through early menapause. I HATE all of these things…AND AND AND… AND, I love how strong I became. I LOVE that I was able to get through it with flying colors. I LOVE that I grew closer to my friends and family. I LOVE that I have more appreciation for life than I did a year ago. I LOVE that I am a survivor and can help other victims survive. I LOVE that I started Zero Negative, a company named after my cancer. I LOVE my short hair now. I LOVE that I will have perky new boobs. I LOVE that I will never have to get a menstrual cycle again. I LOVE how supportive and loved I feel from the world. I LOVE knowing that I am strong and can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish. I LOVE that I feel more powerful and connected to the universe than I ever did. I LOVE that I can surrender to life now, knowing every day is a gift. And, I LOVE being cancer free.
So, I guess, with all the good, with all the happiness, there's another side needing to be released and expressed. And, maybe that scares me, to feel that anger, to feel so let down from myself, from the world. But, I'm hoping my dream last night, a little bit of my anger, was lifted off of my heart. And, just like the quote said, if I face my anger, or face all of my feelings, I can become more aware of my strength, knowing I am still whole, and still cancer free. Nothing can take that away from me. Nothing.