I feel like I am wearing cancer as a costume. It doesn’t feel a part of me. It feels very peripheral, like it’s happening to me, but it is not intrinsically a piece of me.
I’ve seen the scans and pathology reports, I’ve read them carefully. I saw the MRI pictures. There is no mistaking that I have cancer. I’ve had a bilateral mastectomy for chrissake. This is happening.
Yet it still feels distant. Like maybe I’ll wake up and it will all have been a dream or maybe everything is wrong and I’m totally fine and always have been. How as an educated, rational, (ok that remains questionable) adult am I questioning any of this?
Maybe it’s a fancy coping mechanism my brain has concocted? Maybe it’s denial? Maybe it’s the stunning combo of opiates, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety meds I am taking?
The best explanation I can come up with is that it feels like my body is playing dress-up with cancer. Like, we, and by ‘we’ I mean my brain, body and soul, know this shouldn’t be our path so we are just trying it on for size. We already know we don’t like it, but we are willing to dress up as Cancer Barbie to appease the disease for a little longer.
We are young, healthy, strong. We just have to wear this stupid costume for the rest of the summer and possibly fall. At some point, we will be told we can take it off and resume business as usual.
I hear all the time about how cancer changes you down to your core forever. I don’t doubt this for a second, but right now, I truly believe I will take off the stitches, the scars, the chemo bald head, and put my regular clothes back on and just keep walking forward.
All the paraphernalia states that we as Cancer Barbies, need to self identify as so for the rest of our lives. We are a tribe, we are survivors. Maybe I will feel that way when this is over, but if I had a choice, I would prefer to just feel like me. Maybe me 2.0, but basically just me.
I didn’t sign up to the be poster MILF for cancer. I am willing to wear the regalia for as long as I absolutely have to, but when I get the green light at the end of this to take all this shit off, I’m going back to straight up Grace.
Cancer will not ever define me. It will be a silly stage get-up I wore for a year, but that’s it. After that, I’ll just be me with a sacred box where I hide all my Cancer Barbie costumes for when I need to pull them out and remind myself that I am a superhero in yoga pants.
PS- I’m having my radical axillary lymphendectomy surgery tomorrow. Stand by for updates.