The other day when I was in the elevator, a man in my building told me that I look different and asked if I got a Keratin treatment done to my hair. For those of you non-miamians reading this, Keratin is a straightening treatment that a lot of women in Miami have done to their hair, to humidity/frizz proof it. I laughed and told him that it’s a wig and I actually have Lymphoma. Like every other person that I tell, he was in complete and utter shock. First off, he couldn’t believe that I was even wearing a wig (what’s up Steve’s wigs! I told you I’m giving you a shout out lol) and second, he couldn’t believe that I had cancer. He stopped at my floor, I told him a short version of my story, and his main question was “How do you do it?”. I could have answered this question in a million different ways. I just told him that I have to deal with it. I can let it own me, or I can own it. And I choose option B. Always option B. I take it one day at a time and I deal with it. Although this is very true, I’ll tell you how I really do it.
The fact that I am lucky enough to have my mother with me whenever I need her, we like to call her “The General”, is how I really do it. Without her, I would have already lost my mind a long time ago. I bet she’s about to lose hers now! Don’t worry mom, it’s almost over! But also, today showed me how I really am handling cancer. I have the best friends in the entire world. And when I say this, I’m going to tell you that they are way better than your friends. Seriously, the most genuine people that you will ever meet in your entire life. I have the best support system in the world, and I’m also going to tell you that when you go through something like cancer, you learn who your REAL friends are. Like Oprah once said, everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what happens when the limo breaks down!? And I’m very fortunate for all of the friends who have stuck by me when this limo did a major detour, and almost drove off of a cliff AND broke down! When you deal with cancer, quite frankly, a lot of people that you THINK would be there, could truly give two craps less. I have people that I’ve only been close with for four months show me that they are better friends than people that I’ve known for over four years. Situations like cancer wake you up, and show you who cares, and who’s important. But I don’t even have time to get into this, because these people don’t matter in my life anyways, and I no longer deal with trivial situations or people. (Thank you, Cancer for this major wake up call!
One of my best friends Kristin arranged a Lymphoma photo shoot for myself. (Thanks so much to Mama Baumgarten too!) I never really would have thought of doing it, but she made me do it and I’m glad she did! This is just one of many things in my life that Kristin has made me do. She’s made me go on high speed boats with her against my will, while hungover, and projectile vomiting off of the side of them, and made me go shopping while hungover, only to puke outside of the window of her car. (Why do all of these stories revolve around hangovers?) She’s always picked up all of my broken pieces of every relationship that ended in a way that I didn’t expect, friendship fall outs, even job fall outs, and made me put my head up and move the f on. Basically she’s my life coach. She should pretty much be responsible for my life.
But all jokes aside, I remember crying to her in the hospital after my diagnosis, telling her that my life is pretty much over and it’s all about to go down hill from here. She came to the hospital to see me, made me “f*ck cancer” bracelets, made me get out of my hospital bed and actually walk around the hospital, and convinced me that life WILL go on. And it has. After I got home from the hospital, lost my hair, and was an emotional and physical mess, she forced me to get it together, try on my wigs, and move on. Move the F on. One day she even made me take a small step (I hadn’t left my apartment in 7 days), and sit in her car while she picked up her dog from the groomer. It’s people like these that you need in your life, and in my situation, that are HOW I do what I do every day. You need tough people to motivate you, make you get off your ass, and show you that you will survive cancer. It won’t be fun at first, and it’s no walk in the park, but you will survive. And you will come out a better person from it. So thank you to my amazing support system, you all KNOW who you are. To answer the man’s question in the elevator, YOU are all how I do it.
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