There are lots of things that are sad and hard about cancer. It is difficult being nauseous hour after hour for at least a week. It is sad looking at the row of pills that now occupy my life. It is hard remembering which pills I have already taken that day. However, there are two things that beat out all of the other sads and hards.
There are times, days in a row even, that I feel pretty good. I don’t feel nauseous. I’m not tired and weak, needing to sit all of the time. I’m laughing and joking. Then I catch a glimpse of myself—in a mirror, a window, the glass in a picture frame,—and I remember that I’m sick. Everything is different now. Again. I’m the cancer girl. Again. This makes me the saddest. I thought I was done with all of this cancer shit. Here I am 15 years later, with a bigger cancer, dealing with a look I hate. I hate looking sick more than actually being sick. It makes me feel more out of control somehow. You can hide hair with a wig, hat, or scarf. But no fucking eyebrows? You have to take time to cover that shit up. Unless you don’t mind walking out of the house like:
I am not interested in being cancer girl. I don’t want to be someone’s learning experience. I want to look into the mirror and see me. It makes me sad that she’s gone right now.
The hardest moment is when someone—it doesn’t matter if it is a close friend or a stranger—sees you for the first time. You can see the sadness roll over them. It is the worst. I hate making people feel that way.