At some point in the journey of telling people I had breast cancer and meeting with the doctors about what’s next, I gave into the belief that I was sick with this impossible disease. I felt resigned to the fact that my body held cancer and that the next few months would be scary and challenging. I was sad and confused that this was happening to me, but my mind was more settled.
That resignation turned into acceptance. I knew what I had and that I could handle it. I needed that acceptance to carry on, to move forward with educating myself so that I could understand my cancer and to help myself make decisions.
In everyday life, I call myself information obsessive. If someone says, “I wonder what…” it almost doesn’t matter what information they’re looking for. If it’s something no one in the room can answer, I am on my phone or laptop looking it up. I go above and beyond the call, digging deep until I’m satisfied with the response. You can imagine Jeff being confused when, at first, I didn’t really want to read the doctor’s information sent home with me or to review my medical file. I wasn’t ready. I was still in shock and hadn’t fully accepted the situation as real. After a few weeks, when acceptance kicked in, I was able to read and learn about navigating cancer with a clearer mind.
Acceptance of my breast cancer was a hard pill to swallow. Now, I was able to listen to the doctor a bit better and make plans. I was told I’d probably just have surgery followed by 10 weeks of radiation, based on my tumor size and no lymph nodes affected. I decided I could handle that and scheduled the tumor removal surgery. I also decided to travel to PA to visit my family for Christmas not long after the surgery. I was told it would be okay to travel, but I think my family members here and there were surprised that I still wanted to go.
When in PA, my acceptance of the situation made it easier to talk to my mother and others about it. My attitude was, this is the way it is and I’m going to be okay. I became stronger emotionally at that time. Acceptance got me through that short period. After I returned from PA, I received some additional news about my tumor and my cancer, and the journey changed. That’s when I developed the emotion for tomorrow’s blog post: Fear.
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