This day last year.. I thought my life was over. At 29 years old I had just found out I had cancer. I thought it was the end, but I was wrong. It was only the beginning.
The beginning of the most difficult year of my life.
I had it all in front of me. I still had to face telling my parents, the rest of my family and my friends. I still had to face the trauma of finding out that it had spread all over my neck. I still had to face the fear of an 11 hour life changing surgery, the isolation of radiation and deal with all the after effects. I had it all in front of me.
What I didn’t realise at the time however, was that I had something else in front of me too. The clarity of life after a cancer diagnosis. The feeling of utter support and love from those around me. The realisation of how important life is, how every day is genuinely a gift and how lucky I am.. to have it all in front of me.
The heartbreaking fact is that not everyone goes on. Not everyone survives. No matter how hard you fight for your life, in the blink of an eye it can all be taken away. Young, vibrant people are snatched away… it’s cruel and unfair and there is no reason behind it.
We all take for granted that we will have tomorrows. We can call our friend tomorrow, visit our Grandparents tomorrow, take that walk tomorrow, tell them we love them tomorrow. One day we’ll have no more tomorrows.
If a year ago I’d been able to look forward and see myself today, I wouldn’t have recognised my life. In a year my husband has lost all of his Grandparents, I’ve not been to work, we’ve moved house, he’s changed job, we’ve lost a pet, I’ve had cancer.. our world is a different place than it was this time last year. You never know what a difference a day can make, let alone a year.
If I had any advice to someone about to go through what I went through, it would be to be honest. Be honest about how you feel, be honest about what you need from others. Be brave when you need to be and cry your heart and soul out when you need to. You don’t choose to get cancer, just like you don’t choose to fight cancer, you just do. You need to know that when you get through it you might me scarred inside and outside, your body and your soul might be more exhausted than you ever thought possible but you must be grateful. Grateful that you got to survive.