I've always been very upfront and honest when discussing my dance with cancer. I'll tell you anything you want to know about my treatment, surgeries, complications, and coping tools.
I'll readily flash my counterfeit tits if anyone wants to see the end result of my surgery (props to my surgeon, she is gifted) and when it comes to surviving breast cancer, I have nothing to hide.
But there are things I won't (or can't) share, such as the impact of my diagnosis on my friends and family. I only know what I saw from my perspective - not theirs. I don't know how they acted when not in my presence. I don't know how it felt for them to get that phone call about my diagnosis. I don't know what it was like the first time they saw me without hair, bloated, and heavily medicated.
I've gained and lost hair, weight and relationships in equal measure. Having and surviving cancer is like riding a rollercoaster...a really long, twisted, fucked-up rollercoaster.
I can explain my own feelings toward working (I have to or else I'd sit home and lament about my cancer allfuckingday) but I don't know if my employers think they need to go easier on me because of what I've gone through (pity - god forbid) or if they've excused errors that another may get called out on. Do they see me as a strong team member with a drastically different world view or a slacker? Work life balance is paramount to me and I don't think twice about sashaying out of the office after 8 or 9 hours. There's nothing that can't wait. I make shit pretty, I don't save lives.
And then there is the utter financial devastation cancer leaves in it's wake. Even with insurance, it's appalling what I've laid out in copays alone, never mind the uncovered diagnostic tests, additional "little" surgeries, and endless drug therapies. My hubs and I have battled our insurance company to the extent where I'm sure our phone numbers are red flagged in their database. But yet, as much as I hate those battles (and they aren't the only ones - believe me) I'm just grateful I'm here to have them.
So yes, as survivors, we do the best we can under impossible circumstances. There is no guidebook. There's shit I won't openly discuss but just know - if you're struggling too with your personal relationships, work (or lack thereof), and finances you are not alone. Embrace the pieces of your life that are going well and hope that the other stuff will sort itself out in time. Cancer is disruptive and unpredictable. All I can advise you is to be proactive. Speak your truth. It's okay to be a little selfish, you must protect you. Lean on those who love you unconditionally and know that you are not alone.
💖Loves to each of you in my little book community from my heart to yours💕