It comes in waves. Just as crest of the wave hits a peak, it begins to fall and slide into the shore. Kissing the sand in a glorious embrace, the wave is swept back out to sea, often in a ferocious swirl to renew the vow of its beautiful cycle.
Life ebbs and flows such as a wave. For me, cancer always felt as though I were treading water. Some days my legs wanted to give up. I wanted to sink below the surface and end the pain and stop the hurt. Other days I wanted to taste the salt water on my dry lips and fight like hell, and when the sea was smooth I wanted to lie on my back and bask in the warmth of the sunrays and float effortlessly on my back.
The word cancer, well it sucks. There is nothing I love about this word. It violates me. When a friend recently told me she had cancer, I wanted to reach through the phone and pop it like a zit. Cancer is like a zit that sits under the skin and hurts. It is the kind most can’t recognize, but you know it is there. It makes you feel ugly, strange, and awkwardly beautiful all at the same time.
For me, I started feeling less than. I started treading water. How could I keep myself afloat? Could someone save me and throw me a life jacket? How could I keep swimming?
I could have given up. I could have let the cervical cancer take control, but I am stubborn. I couldn’t let cancer be my dictator, because if I did, I would not be here. There were times I did not know if I would live. Times I wanted to blame others. Moments of screaming, yelling, crying, and punching the wall. The minutes where the pain was so extreme I wanted to pass out, often recalled when I write about cancer.
Cancer does not spell fun. You try to keep living a normal life. No matter how positive you are, there is still an emotional hell that most can’t relate to. On top of it, there is fear. Fear of the unknown. Cancer feels like the jewelry box ballerina spinning round and round, permanently attached.
The day you hear the cancer is gone, you cry. You smile, you laugh, and you call your best friend. You feel as though you have a new lease on life. Cancer changes you. You start appreciating every moment of every minute. Your smile becomes a little brighter, because you are alive.
You are done treading the unknown waters.
After cervical cancer, I thought that would be the end. But there was a different plan for me. My left ovary decided to it felt left out. Ovarian Cancer wanted me to get back into the water and kick my little legs a bit more. And so I did. In no time, I was floating on the sea smiling with the sunrise. I beat cancer.
A year and a half later, another sunset. The tide rose and the water turned cold. My right ovary said, “third time’s a charm.” Instead of tears of Ovarian Cancer again, I cried in the closet because I could not fit in my pants. The surgeries, the hormone changes, the emotional toll, all had done some work. I needed bigger pants, and I could not, did not want to accept that.
So I did what any normal human would do, I threw a fit. I gave myself that moment to be real about the past six years of pokes, prods, doctors, and surgeries. Somehow I made it through. I credit most of it to refusing to be told how my life would be. I was quietly stubborn, and determined.
Cancer you might be a stubborn ass, but you couldn’t dictate how I was supposed to live my life. I beat it. I was 26. Today, I am 35 and healthier than I have ever been.
I love the ocean. I love riding the waves. The sweetness is in the struggle. When you beat cancer, and you will beat cancer, you will know why it chose you. You will ride that wave straight to the beach and hug that newly created shoreline you were destined for.
You CAN SURVIVE.
Miranda Allfrey is a travel, health & lifestyle writer, cancer survivor, and speaker. Her captivating storytelling adds magic to destinations, cuisine, experiences, products, culture, and health. With a global awareness and passion for life & cloudsurfing (aka flying), she is the perfect brand ambassador. To learn how she can help your company surf to the top, click here.