“It’s probably nothing, but…”
This is how it starts. A heart palpitation, a feeling of nausea, a head full of different scenarios unfolding. But it could be something. It could be the thing.
And so she goes to get tests, and more tests done. She gets her blood drawn, her breast examined. She stays optimistic, because there’s no point in worrying about something that’s not certain, right? She gets semi-reassuring words like, “but it doesn’t run in your family” or, “you’re just paranoid because your aunt had it”, when all she wants is a prognostic. Then she gets one, and she wishes she hadn’t.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but…”
How can she react to this news? She is a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister. She has a life to live. She has places to explore, people to meet. She has so much more loving and living and growing to do, and in one sentence it feels like it’s all been stripped away from her. How could her body betray her this way, attack her where it hurts, where she once fed and nurtured her children, where she once gave life? Breast cancer is a statistic, it’s not something that happens to you. Until it is.
“I know you don’t want to talk about this, but…”
What is there to talk about? There’s nothing left to do but fight.
And so she fights. With all her might, with every ounce of life in her, she fights. When all she wants to do is give up, when she feels tired, worn out, when the chemo stops working and it feels like it’s the end. She fights. She does whatever it takes, even if it means losing parts of herself she never thought she’d lose. And that is when she realizes it. It’s funny that it takes almost losing your life to realize what it’s all about. When you’re fighting to survive, when you’re unsure which breath will be your last, you start putting things in perspective. You worry less about meaningless things, and spend more time enjoying the things that make you happy. Your family, your friends, your pets; the little moments spent in peace. You fight for them. You fight, and you don’t stop until it’s over.
“You’ll be happy to hear…”
These are words not a lot of women get to hear. These are words she was lucky to hear. Because for the first time since this all began, there were no buts. No unwanted diagnostics, no curve balls thrown at her, no more chemo or surgery.
She was a hero, a fighter. She was a survivor; and that was that.