What do you do when they tell you “It’s cancer”? I’m not hiding in the shadows, that’s what. I choose to shine where I am.

Shine where you are

“It’s cancer.” The words no one wants to hear. It almost stops your heart. Breath feels heavy, fleeting, and echoing in your head. The room is spinning. Then comes the expectation that you will just fade into the background. Not this girl.

As a cancer patient, there is a lot of sadness, broken dreams, and a clouded future. You aren’t sure where to look, who to talk to, and what to expect. It feels a little like being locked on a train going somewhere you never wanted to go. And it can be lonely.

There are times you feel that you are supposed to be quiet, keep the details to yourself. There is so much to digest, so much to process, and sometimes it’s written all over your hairless, eyebrowless, and eyelashless face. The treatments are wearing, the scans are anxiety producing, and the worry is ever present. The other shoe feels like it will drop at any moment.

There is still life.

A friend passed away this week, from the same cancer I have. It was jolting, sad, and yet I admired his ability to shine, and even make others laugh, in the midst of his situation. I endeavor to shine, laugh, experience life, and get out when my body is amicable to do so. I have shining to do, things to look forward to, and loved ones to see. I’m not ready to fade into the background, no matter how much that unspoken expectation beckons.

Shine where you are.

So I make plans for coffee, lunch, walk, go to my son’s parent group meeting, watch Downton Abbey with a friend, drink hot chocolate, browse through antiques, eat quesadillas, make smoothies, write, and watch my son swim. I’m one of the lucky ones, to get to do those things, and I’ll do them until I can’t anymore. I’m going to shine where I am, to the best of my ability. Be the light where I can, even when it’s hard.

What’s the alternative? Not something I want to explore.