Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my sexual assault.
And while I still feel the need to acknowledge it, I can say in all honesty that 24 September 2011 is no longer the worst day of my life. Unfortunately that title now goes to 7 August 2017. That is the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither of these events are things it ever occurred to me that I would have to deal with in my life. Ever! And yet both have found their way into my experience. The really weird thing is there are so many similarities between the two: neither were expected; I was/am fighting for my life; my body was/is in total shock; I had to/I have to now learn a new way to be, figure out a new ‘normal.’ Also, my startle response, which has never gone completely away, is back with a vengeance. All I can think is, how did I not learn these lessons after my attack and why do I have to go through it all again, albeit from a completely different event?
What I really would like to do now, though, is change my mindset around my current situation. To me, this means thinking about it in completely different terms. For example, I am refraining from calling the chemotherapy that is running through my body as poison. Instead, I think of it as the sweet elixir of life that is shrinking my tumor away to nothing. Instead of lamenting that I cannot walk as far or play tennis for as long, I am doing my best to enjoy being able to rest during this time. I know when it is all over, my strength and stamina will return. I’ve always been more of a go-go-go-all-the-time kind of person, so this is simply as opportunity to relax and slow down. Instead of wondering what I did wrong or what I may have done to deserve this, I am learning to accept that I did nothing wrong nor did I do anything to deserve this, it just happens and, unfortunately, it happens to millions of people. All the care that I’ve taken up to this point most likely has saved me from far worse diseases, and will play a huge role in my beating and defeating the cancer I do have.
I am very fortunate. I have a loving, supportive husband. I have great doctors and nurses and all kinds of support from family and friends. I have people sending prayers and positive, healing energy to me from all around the world (thanks Facebook!) So as much as I hate what I am going through, as hard as it has been on my body and will most likely continue to be, I am actually very, very lucky.