"Cancer came like a tornado. It picked my household up, shook us around and dropped us into unfamiliar territory.There were no rainbows or jolly singing men, only a sea of uncertainty.
It started in July 2016 with heavy bleeding, progressed quickly to ovarian cysts, operation one, womb cancer, another operation, stage 2 grade 1a, no further treatment. A whirlwind of emotions, all suppressed by my beautiful mind to protect me and my family, until now; until the aftermath of tornado cancer.
Until you've been there, until you've faced cancer and your own immortality you can never truly know how it feels. I’ve empathised with others, I’ve comforted others but I never truly got it till now.
The aftermath is like grieving. You go through the stages; overwhelming sadness, loss, anger, guilt, acceptance. They are all part of tornado cancer. You grieve the children you'll never have, you grieve the life you are missing, you grieve the person you once were.
Your physical scars heal; you look like the same person, people cannot see your illness, they assume you are well, they assume you are over it. You do not see that person, you see a shadow of who they once were. You look in the mirror and you see a woman who is weak, fragile and broken. A woman you cannot relate to, you do not see the warrior you have become.
The glass is no longer half full as you question why me and imagine every ache and pain is a re-occurance. Your self-esteem has gone, your confidence diminished, you do not see the strong survivor your family and friends see.
You wonder at what point in every new relationship you will have to tell people about tornado cancer; you wonder if anyone will love and accept you again, you wonder if things will ever be the same again. You do not see the amazing lady they see.
You return to work, you try to find your place, you struggle and question if it’s too soon, you wonder if you'll ever get your confidence back, you wonder if you will get through a day without crying. You do not see your colleague's are struggling to help you; you do not see the strong person they see.
You are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, you do not see the end.
My favourite part of the Wizard of Oz is during the aftermath of the tornado in the walk up to the emerald city. The lion has fear, the tin man believes he has no heart, the scarecrow thinks he has no brain and Dorothy longs for home. I feel it too; I’m scared, my heart is broken, my mind is muddled and I long for the comfort and safety of home. Like the wizard I hide my true identity, I forget who I really am. But I also have optimism, I have hope. I have embraced tornado cancer and I bid the door to my future to open....
'You're out of the woods,
You’re out of the dark,
You’re out of the night,
Step into the sun,
Step into the light....'
Cancer will not define me, it will not dictate my future. It is a small part of who I am, a part that will get smaller everyday. I am the person they see, the survivor, the warrior princess, the strong amazing lady, one day I will see it, this is me❤"
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