I have a humongous zit on my nose. I mean, it is gigantic. And every time I look in the mirror I lament:
“Oh, it’s so ugly! I look like Rudolph with this shiner.”
I feel oh, so sorry for myself.
But situations like this are ones where I soon enough find myself feeling quite stupid for being so vain. Today was no different.
I was reading True Beauty, Never Hurries, an inspirational blog written by Bekah, a lovely 23-year-old who is currently battling her second bout of cancer. Her second bout … at age 23 … when all of her dreams are just being put into action … when she is supposed to be having the time of her life … when she is supposed to be worried about a zit on her nose …
How does that happen?
Please read the following post from Bekah. How someone battling so much pain and hurt can find this much wisdom . . . it just floors me. I promise it will make you feel differently about the matters on which we place worry. I know you may say, “Yes, but I have my own worries.” And I understand that; I understand that you do not have to have cancer for your concerns to be valid. But I am telling you, it will make you think differently — even if it is just for a day, or until the next day-changing zit, Bekah will touch your heart today.
A little cancer secret
During this two year battle with cancer, I would like to think I have learned some lessons from my past treatment, to bring towards this one.
A major obstacle I faced last year, and begin to face this year as well. Is to look sick at age twenty three or twenty four. In our young 20’s we should be vibrant, and beautiful, and not give a second thought to illness. But unfortunately, for some it happens. It has happened to me, and it happens to others I care for, very deeply as well.
Most would think, you can easily shrug off the ‘sick’ look. Say ‘who cares? it’s just hair, or eyebrows, or eyelashes.’ But alas, it is not the shallow loss of these characteristics that stings the cancer patient, it is the loss of normalcy, the grief of once was, the knowledge that we were somewhere else a year ago, or six months ago. It is the loss of a past life whether it be a healthy mom with five children and a stoic husband, a brave woman with a beautiful partner and fur kids, a young musician attempting to start his life over in a new city, a father with two adorable daughters and a beautiful wife, or a young teacher, desperate to know when she’ll be able to have her own classroom again.
By looking this way in the world, we have a choice to make. Never an easy one at that though. Last year, I fumbled and grappled with my physical appearance, understanding what my appearance meant. It meant, I was receiving chemotherapy. It meant, I had left my life in Florida (and now in Boston) to receive treatment. It meant, I had given up my world to fight for my life. It meant, I am hoping for a cure.
So, as the rest of the outside world may see us as weak, or sickling, and possibly unattractive. We, as patients and survivors, and even caretakers have to understand the magnitude of what this outer appearance truly is.
Last year, I saw myself, hairless, ill, and dreading the outside world for fear of judgment. Now, after time and a second diagnosis, I see myself and other cancer patients and survivors for what they really are, when going through treatment…
We have not only let go of our physical characteristics, but we’ve let go of a life – in some way or some form. And in turn, we are fighting for a new one. If that means, we do it without hair, or eyebrows, or physical strength. So be it.
To me, that is not weak.
To me, this is the strength of a cancer patient.
The sun is shinning, and this cancer patient is finally ready for round two of ICE.
I will be admitted Wednesday afternoon, and be held at Upenn till Saturday afternoon. If any complications arise, you will be updated.
oh.. and one last picture for my favorites. 🙂
All my Love
to All of you