After my diagnosis things happened so fast and I had so much information thrown at me. I had put my game face on early on in the process and I was able to calmly sit through most appointments with my ears open and my pen ready. I did my best to take it all in and make sense of things but at some point your mind just goes on numb and the words begin to spin around your head. You can hear them, but they no longer make sense. I was OK with not knowing everything in the beginning and I had even made a promise to myself that I would not start researching what was happening to me for fear that the sad stores would bring me down. However, now that I have had some time to let things sink in and I am half way into treatment, I have had a lot of questions as to what my diagnosis really means and what it is that I should be doing so I scheduled an appointment with my nurse practitioner to go over a few side effects I was having and of course to set my mind at ease.
When I walked into the room I was greeted with the biggest of bear hugs and of course the caring motherly eyes that I always get from Kim. She complimented me on my scarf and asked how I was doing with my Chemo treatments but I think she knew deep down I was struggling even if I hadn’t realized it yet myself. We talked about my side effects and even constructed a new game plan medication wise before she had me take my gown down and get up on the exam table. I’m not sure if being exposed made me more vulnerable or if Kim knew this was the perfect moment to swoop in, but she grabbed my shoulders and got intimately close and asked me something that I think she wanted to ask me for a long time. She asked me why it that I feel like I always have to be the strong one? For months I had been hearing that it was OK for me to let myself feel what was happening to me, and most importantly it was OK for me to cry because I really hadn’t, but this was the first time someone had laid it all out on the table like this. It caught me off guard at first, but I did feel comfortable with Kim. She just has a way of making you feel safe in her presence. I paused for a minute to not only gather my thoughts but also to push back the tears that will filling my eyes and I mustered up enough courage to say. “Everyone that loves me is afraid that they are going to lose me right now. They look at me with their sad cancer eyes. I have to be strong for them. I know if they see fear in my eyes this will be even harder on them, so I try to push through any fears I have on my own until they no longer consume my mind.” Kim looked deep into my eyes as if she knew there was more. She grabbed both of my hands and in a very caring yet stern voice said, You need to know that you did not give yourself cancer. You haven’t done anything wrong…. This is not your fault. She repeated her self at least three times. I can still hear her saying it in my mind. “This is not your fault, This is not your fault. This is not your fault…. I tried so hard, but I couldn’t hold back the emotion that I had unknowingly been bottling up for months. I lost all control and I started to cry. I remember apologizing and desperately trying to contain myself. Kim wiped a tear from my eye and wrapped her arms around me. Her eyes welled up with tears as she said oh honey you are not alone in this. We cried together for a good five minutes before she looked at me and said, “I hope you know that you are not just our patient. Both Dr. Melnik and I have children the same age as you. We love you like you were are own child and we ARE going to get you through this. In that moment I felt at peace. I excepted that for the first time in my life I was not in control and I was a peace with that because I knew I had one hell of a medical team in my corner.