Something happens when you hear the words, “you have cancer”. Feelings of terror, shock, dismay, helplessness, nausea, and weakness overcome your body all at once. In my case, I had been expecting the doctor to tell me that it was cancer, but that didn’t lessen the blow at all. My emotions ran rampant and I shook and cried. Then my brain decided it needed more information, so I turned to the Internet. Then my avoidance behaviors superseded everything and I needed to go shopping.

I hate that something like cancer happened to me. Seriously, I’m 35, I have a Master’s Degree, I’m a successful educator, and I have good hair right now. I “compete” (participate) in fun things like adventure races–I have been known to swim through mud and jump over fire to cross a finish line. I can sew curtains and I’m good at crossword puzzles.

But this–this is big, really big. I can’t sweat my way out of this or learn my way out of this or use a website to secretly look up answers when nobody is looking. This is REAL fighting with no medal or diploma or looks of admiration because “yes, I did complete that crossword in PEN”.

This is big, grown-up stuff with major consequences and decision points.