Admit it…there are some days that you start the day off on the Struggle Bus to Struggle City. Wednesday was that day for me. I woke up nauseated, but it was too late in the morning to call in sick and I had a full day of teaching ahead. I asked my husband if he thought it was something I ate. His response: “Kym, you just had chemo, so no, I think it’s the chemo.” I always try to ascribe the bad days to something else…virus, fatigue, food poisoning, etc. but it just keeps coming back to the fact that I am putting poison in my body in order to fight the cancer. Then, I spend most of the next week fighting the poison that is fighting the cancer. Like the shampoo bottle says: Lather, rinse, repeat.
It just doesn’t seem right.
In English classes, we teach that there is no story unless there is a conflict. Something has to happen to the main character in order to make the story interesting, and unfortunately, as the protagonist for our own individual story we mostly don’t get to choose the conflict. Every time I check social media, I see so many battles that my friends are fighting…injury, injustice, illness, heartache, senseless crime, etc. My battle is unique to me, but I know we’ve all felt that feeling-How will I get through this day?
Start with the Cancer PlayList
Dig Deep. Going through something life changing requires all your personal resources. Reach to your faith, your friends, your family. Wednesday, I reached out to my friend, and she was there. She is going through her own battle with debilitating back pain, but she searched all over the office just to find me some ginger! I had one hour before class was to start to get control of the situation. I was calculating distances to the closest bathroom in case of emergency vomitting or worse-as one teacher-contract I had so succinctly put it-“explosive diarrhea.”
Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of the sad young man I see weekly in the chemo room. He speaks to no one and he appears to be young, mid-20’s. His answers to the nurses are monosyllabic. His agony is evident on his face each time he comes in. His mom comes in with him and does what she can do to ease the suffering. It just brings to mind how unfair and indiscriminate cancer actually is.
We all have conflict-some big and some small-but all achingly real. Our lives have so many pitfalls along the way that the only real solution is to reach out to each other to create a resolution to our own story. I couldn’t do this without you!