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


by Toba WolfPatient, Breast CancerNovember 26, 2019View more posts from Toba Wolf

It’s okay to cry. I tell my daughter when she scrapes her knee and struggles to be brave and hold in her tears.

It’s okay to cry. I tell my son when he proudly tells me, “I didn’t even cry when I got a shot.”

It is okay to cry. But how come I have such a hard time crying? My friend tells me to cry when I’m in the shower. I try, but the tears don’t come.

It’s okay to cry. But I don’t. I push through day after day. Diagnosis. chemo after chemo after chemo. mastectomy. I smile. The world is in awe of my brave face. And I don’t cry.

The doctor tells me, the medicine you will need to be on, you cannot be pregnant while you are on it. You will need to be on it for a minimum of three years. Ideally five. But I’d prefer still ten because you are so young.

I do not cry.

I go home and I get in my bed. And I cry. And I cry. And I cry so hard my husband does not know what to do with me.

He calls his sister. She says it is okay to cry.

I cry it all out and then I am able to keep on going.

And I continue. Radiation after radiation after radiation. And I smile. And I do not cry. I help myself and I send the help away. I cook for my family. Bathe my children. Put them to bed. And I do not cry.

And it is not the same as it was. The children have grown in the year I was sick. They eat more. I try to cook more. I cannot remember how I used to do it all. The laundry is hard. I cannot keep up. My focus is not what it was. I forget things. Get distracted. All the time. I have word confusion. I will say almost the right word. But not quite. I can feel stupid but I choose to laugh instead. And I do not cry.

And I try to meet the standards. The standards I used to meet without a thought. Cleaning my own house. Washing my own dishes. Doing my own laundry. Baths. And bedtime. And I do not have the strength I used to have. And I try not to cry. But then I tell myself, it is okay. It is okay to cry.

And I cry.

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