Let’s start at the beginning. From the moment you receive a cancer diagnosis, you tend to question your entire existence on this earth. Why did this happen to me of all people? What did I do that was so wrong in life? Why was I placed on this earth to suffer like this? So many unanswered questions. How do I even begin to understand let alone explain my heartache, sorrow, and pain over the years?
Well, I can surely try. After losing my grandmother, mother, and cousin to different types of cancers, I definitely thought that I was going to die. I even told my family members how I wanted my funeral to take place, but I was in for a big surprise. Much to my amazement, I am here today to write this story for you all.
Being diagnosed with Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer felt like a real death sentence for me. I had to endure eight rounds of chemo plus thirty rounds of radiation, plus regular blood tests and scans. When will it all end for me? Until one fine day, as I finished my last radiation session, I took a final blood test. The results were good. There were no signs of recurrence. My vitals were good; it was as though the cancer simply “vanished”.
Was this a nightmare or a miracle? I was confused yet extremely happy. At that moment, I experienced survivor’s guilt. Why was I the only member in my family to survive? Did I accidentally break a generational curse? Is it coming back for me? Was I a missed target? All these thoughts were in my head with no clear answers, but I was grateful for my recovery. I was grateful for all my friends, supporters and well-wishers out there who believed in me.
I don’t think that I am able to move past my survivor’s guilt. Everyday I see stories on the news that someone has passed away from cancer, yet when someone asks me how I feel, I am scared to say that I am okay. I am not sure why. Maybe it’s because for years I had to say that my life was bad, with all the pain and trauma I had to endure, but now it’s an opportunity to lift myself up and move on. I can tell you that this is easier said than done, my friends.
My friends encourage me to write stories, which I do, but I feel so sad every time I write. I honestly cry for each article. The pain just never goes away. I write to encourage other people. I sometimes wonder what my take away lesson from my cancer ordeal was. Everyone says that life is a test, life is a journey, life is a struggle, but how do you deal with all these complications that life has thrown at you unexpectedly?
I am quite tired of constantly trying to pick myself back up all the time. I hated my life for a very long time. My cancer diagnosis was honestly the last straw for me. I was completely fed up with this life here on earth. I spent a lot of time by myself during my cancer treatment. I just wanted to be alone and reflect upon myself. I prayed and cried a lot and it really helped me to heal. I was at peace with myself.
I was no longer ashamed to be a cancer patient, now a survivor. I was happy in my own skin and with myself for being so brave and strong. I even remember having a dream once of my deceased mom telling me that she was so proud of me; that was and still is my most defining moment in time. I realized that I am making a difference with my life, and I no longer had to question my existence in this world.
My life as I knew it became totally different for me. I began to value the little things in life and above all, I appreciated people more than ever. I stopped pursuing material things in this life, as people were my number one priority. You can have a lot of materialistic things, but what really brings you the most joy in this life? My answer is my family. What is your answer? My advice to people out there struggling with survivor’s guilt is to do what makes you smile the most. Once you are happy on the inside, it begins to reflect on the outside, making you the best version of yourself: one that you are most happy and proud of today!