Whatever the Emotion, It’s Okay
by Nancy Rea
What is it about women that makes us believe, not just presume but truly believe, that we have to be strong? Why must we be everything to everyone, even to the detriment of our own selves?
In September of 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I heard those words, I went into autopilot. I am certain that a part of my brain just shut down. Two and a half years later, it is just now starting to reawaken.
After having eight biopsies over the course of eight years (Yes, that’s right. I had one biopsy a year for eight years.), I decided that my next course of action would be a bilateral mastectomy and total breast reconstruction. I had no idea how intense the treatment would be. Cancer took its toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally.
People comment on how strong I am. I am not strong; I am just afraid to let my guard down because if I do, I might fall apart.
It is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that I really had cancer, so much so that I often become upset when someone says I am a survivor.
People comment on how strong I am. I am not strong; I am just afraid to let my guard down because if I do, I might fall apart. I still can’t cry. I have yet to be angry. But I have been afraid.
I am on the road to emotional recovery. I keep my appointments with my oncologist. I take time for myself. I go on long walks to clear my head. I exercise often and try to stay as healthy as possible. I strive to enjoy every moment and count my blessings.
I want you to know that whatever you are feeling is okay. However you deal with your cancer is your choice. Wherever you are on this journey, you are not alone.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Nancy Rea is a breast cancer survivor living in Vero Beach, FL. She wants other breast cancer survivors to know that they are never alone in this battle.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2009.