"I think I deserve something beautiful.”
I can't say that the instant I heard that I had cancer everything changed immediately. I can't say that all the sudden I had this wonderful insight on what the meaning of life really was. I can't say that everything around me made sense instantly. And I definitely can't say that I have it all figured out. Cancer doesn't create this omniscient, altruistic version of a person. It did the opposite to me. It broke me down into pieces, stripped me of so much of myself that I felt naked. Cancer showed me who Becky was. It told me what she was most afraid of, demonstrated her weaknesses and told me the story of her life. It showed me what Becky wanted and needed to be and made the draining people in her life stand out. Cancer woke me up.
The first thing I did after I found out I had cancer was go home and vomit. That's the very first thing. When the vomiting commenced and the tears stopped, I washed my face, looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and told myself that I had to find a way to quit my job. And I did. My work relationships at the time were shaky to say the least. My values differed greatly from my employer and things weren't working out. I was miserable. Every day. I'm not one for quitting, but cutting all ties to my work relationships at the time was essential to my well being. Cancer gave me the guts.
The second thing I did after I found out I had cancer was tell everyone that I knew. Not only did I call everyone I knew, I posted it on Facebook, I sent an email out to friends and family and I looked for every possible support group or organization that I could find to help me. Some people prefer to deal with a cancer diagnosis privately. I chose not to do that. I was desperate. And scared. Some people jumped in the mix quickly, asking if they could help or if I needed anything. Some people steered clear of me, not knowing what to say and then sent me emails saying that they didn't know what to say. I appreciated their honesty. No matter what a person's approach to my cancer was, they meant well and I knew this. It's a good feeling knowing that even though some relationships don't last I have lots of lifelong friendships that have and always will. Those people stuck by me. I'm so grateful for those relationships. Cancer can't take those away from me.
Here's the difference between my relationships before cancer and my relationships post cancer. Some of my relationships were wonderful chapters in my book of life. Those relationships are now more meaningful. and I enjoy adding pages to those chapters. Other relationships were nothing more than draining drags. Now those relationships no longer exist. I tore those entire chapters out of my book. I cut ties with people. Lots of them. Even people that I had known for my entire life. Today, I try to share my world with anyone that wants to listen and in the process I have developed some incredible, lasting friendships. Have I mentioned how much I love other survivors? The new friendships that I continue to build day by day are healthier than ever and I;m learning and growing with them. That's what happens when you open up your universe. Good people come along. Cancer taught me that.
I don't ever want to be in a position where I'm looking back at my life and wondering how or why I ended up in that very moment. I don't want to look in the rearview mirror and see a bunch of negative influences. I'm always setting new goals and testing my limits as a human being. I want relationships with people that do and believe in the same. I owe that much to myself. I owe that much to my relationship with myself.