Reflecting on the last two years is something I genuinely HATE to do. Everyone sees this little fighter and they see the smile I have kept through it all but very few have seen the pain behind the smile. I have found happiness in the little things like my hair that has finally grown back, we all know that my life was in shambles when I was losing my hair, but the hair growth that is coming back is to DIE for. But really what is supposed to make you happy after you go through two surgeries, cancer, and chemo. I lost a freaking ovary, had another surgery because my tumor was a stubborn and decided to grow back, went to chemo lost all my hair, had the summer from hell because my cancer still hated me, finally got what I think I wanted and got back in school and I still don't feel fulfilled. Call me crazy but sometimes I think things were sometimes easier when I was in chemo and I knew exactly what was going to do every day of the week. I was going to John Hopkins for Chemotherapy. It was so simple, and the worst part was that it made sense. Ask most people what they want out of life and the answers simple, to be happy.
Maybe it’s this expectation, though… The wanting to be happy, that just keeps us from ever getting there. I've thought over the last year maybe I am not happy, because I just want to be happy again so bad. But then I realized something I no longer look at the world all prim and proper. It’s a common belief that positive thinking leads to a happier, healthy life. As children, we’re told to smile. And be cheerful. And put on a happy face. As adults we’re told to look on the Bright-side, and see glasses as half-full. Sometimes reality can get in the way of our ability to act the happy part, though. Your hope can fail, boyfriends cheat, friends can disappoint, and people can get cancer. It’s in these moments, when you just need to get real with yourself, drop the act, and be your true, scared, unhappy self. Life will knock you down but you still have to get back up and fight I’ve said it once and I will say it before cancer is unbiased it does not care about your gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, family history or you. It could care less what you look like if you’re a good person or not, like any ruthless serial killer there is the main purpose is to kill. If it’s life, spirits, joy, happiness, killing is the main objective. So what do you do? You gear up for battle and prepare to fight in the most epic war of your life.
Cancer is nothing more than a war between you and life. Some of these wars result in complete and total victory. Some war’s end with a peace offering, and some war’s end in hope. But all the wars you will fight and have in life are nothing compared to the most terrifying war of all. The one you have yet to fight. For me it’s the war I am fighting knowing that any day anything can happen. And even though that’s the scariest part, it has yet to hinder me from doing what I want when I want. The ride has been one with plenty of turbulence; all I did was put on my seatbelt. I smile, I frown, I roll my eyes I have entire breakdowns, and I still push forward every day. Am I 100% happy? No. But then again who really is? Am I happy I have breath in my lungs and laughter in my spirit and love in my heart? Yes. The desires of my heart will come until then I relish in my accomplishments, and my daily struggles, because those are what truly set me apart from the rest, and those are what truly make me unique.
A year ago I hated everything that was happening to me, now I still hate it but I move along with it. I take life’s blows and I give cancer the meanest middle finger I have, flip the little bit of hair I do have and seize the day. Gratitude. Appreciation. Giving thanks. No matter what words you use, it all means the same thing. Happy. We’re supposed to be happy. Grateful for friends, family, happy to just be alive… whether we like it or not. Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude… has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human.
Maybe we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing… is reason enough to celebrate. Celebrating 2 more years I wasn't supposed to live ;)