The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Cancer Created Me

by Dana GarciaPatient, Colorectal CancerFebruary 6, 2024View more posts from Dana Garcia

Cancer changed everything. Some people like to pretend that it doesn’t change anything, but the raw fact is that it changes everything; life, family, friends, and most importantly yourself. Maybe they are in denial or have not come to terms with this burden. But within the dark crevices of Cancer it has a way of making you feel more deserving and as if you are a more superior being than you were before. Deserving in the sense that you deserve the whole world because you have to embark on this expedition. And more superior because this road isn’t smoothly paved. There are divots and bumps and so many forks in this road; we had to have been chosen for this path. This path is not given to just anyone. In a way; we were called for this.

Life looks a lot different now. Before Cancer, I was a stay-at-home mom enjoying my daughter with our future in the palms of my hands. Instead of holding our future, now my palms carry my heavy weary head as I’m grappling with the thought of my dismissal.

Life is so chaotic now. Once you have Cancer, life changes. There is no denying it. The mental impact Cancer has on one’s soul is debilitating. Now, I have this Cancer “career” I never asked for. And the benefits aren’t anything to brag about. I attend endless amounts of appointments, treatments, therapies, and meetings just to try and keep myself alive. While the rest of the world keeps spinning on its own, I’m constantly spinning that globe so my world doesn’t come to a complete halt.

Cancer has stolen so much from me and my loved ones. The natural opportunity to procreate was not only ripped from my heart but my literal loins. Although I have always been completely content with my daughter, just having that option taken away is devastating. Healthy women take their bodies for granted—I know this now.

Cancer has robbed time away from my loved ones. This has been a difficult task to manage with the endless doctor appointments, tests, treatments, and hospital stays. Keeping up with the normalities of everyday living is difficult, to say the least. The role as a mom and wife on top of being a stage four Colorectal Cancer patient is beyond exhausting. Among all the responsibilities and obligations we take on as mothers and wives, I am also trying to save my own life while still keeping it all together. It is completely draining trying to juggle being that same mom my daughter runs to and a wife, and all the while trying to save my own life.

Since my first diagnosis back in 2021, I have learned that some things in life I am better without. I have learned to prioritize the people in my life, as well. Having Cancer has shaped me to be more assertive with my feelings. I am not afraid to tell people how I feel, even if they may not like my disposition. In a way, I guess Cancer has taught me how to speak up. I am a better advocate for myself and others as a result of having this devil of a disease.

I feel like having Cancer has ultimately helped me emerge as to who I really am. It is sad it has taken a life-altering, soul-shaking diagnosis of Cancer for me to feel as if this is what I was made for. I have grappled with the thoughts we all ask ourselves. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Instead of immersing myself in these questions of why I have Cancer I have learned to accept it and embrace it face to face.

Having Cancer definitely has impacted how I live my life now. I do not take the memories made by life’s simplest moments for granted, as I most likely did before. When you have your health, it is so easy to be blinded by the natural happiness that is life. You miss out on the little things; that at the end of the day have the most meaning. The simplicity of living goes unnoticed in the world we live in.

Cancer has opened up my mind to new ideas, hobbies, and opportunities. I have started to create art more. I’ve always been into arts and crafting but it is so much more rewarding now. I find painting has been very therapeutic for me. Some of my best work is done while I’m in physical pain. It helps distract me from that moment and create something beautiful from this haunting life. With the help of this magazine, I have also been doing quite a bit of writing. To me, writing is extremely rewarding. I can express my feelings and create something that has the potential to give others the strength to keep living. I have also been exploring some of God’s most beautiful creations; healing crystals. For myself, I have found so much comfort and confidence in crystals. I believe we are all connected through nature and once I started to make connections I have felt an abundance of calmness and guidance. Would I have experienced any of these things if I didn’t have Cancer? Maybe, but definitely not as I do now. So for this, I am thankful.

Am I a better person because I have Cancer? Yes, I absolutely am. It is definitely hard to not be bitter but after getting past the anger and resentment I have towards this disease, I have to admit it has humbled me. I’m more compassionate towards myself and others. Cancer has softened the corners of my life and my perspective on living. Certain things have become more of a priority than others. I also choose how I spend my time more wisely than I have ever done before. When you don’t have time, suddenly the time you do have becomes the most important aspect of your life. Time is such a valuable asset and not many people realize this until it’s too late.

I have learned to face the world with a brighter, more resilient light than I ever have before. When you are faced with a disease it is easy to dim out the light of the world around you. It is easy to shut down, break down. What isn’t easy is to be that shining light that someone needs to see. That warmth someone needs to feel on their face. And most importantly that comforting smile that lets them know everything will be okay. This is who Cancer turned me into.

I am a free spirit to whom I expose my soul for all to see. I am that warm breeze upon your bare shoulders when the weight feels unbearable. I am the one who understands the heartache of dying, living, and the in-between. I am that long sigh after that well-deserved breakdown. I am that person who knows exactly how you are feeling. I am the reflection in the mirror that slaps the strength back into you so you can keep pushing forward. I see you and I am with you.

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