I Deserved Cancer.

Cancer brings up emotions that defy logic. They can’t be defended or dissuaded, they have to be felt and slowly evolve. I BLAMED myself for my cancer. Clearly, I wasn’t a GOOD ENOUGH person to NOT get cancer. I must have caused it, maybe even DESERVED it

 Photo by DJ Watts

Photo by DJ Watts

The year before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my mother died of ovarian cancer. I didn’t feel I had done enough, spent enough time with her, prepared enough food for her, loved her hard enough. I was ANGERY that she had cancer and that she died of it. I wasn’t angry at Cancer, I was angry at HER for letting cancer happen.  

 

 At age 6, so proud to be matching my mama. 

At age 6, so proud to be matching my mama. 

Then I was diagnosed with cancer and it felt like Karma for all of these unspoken and unspeakable feelings. My anger, blame, and guilt towards my mother and especially towards myself- were eating me alive. 

So I let cancer HEAL me. Cancer became penance. Penance for what I failed to do, for my feelings, for my thoughts. Cancer gave me insight into my mother’s pain. It did not break us apart but instead it brought us together, even after her death. 

 The place where my mothers ashes were scattered. 

The place where my mothers ashes were scattered. 

 

Chemo became my temple and I became a monk. It allowed me the chance to dig deep with in and be stripped. Cancer taught me a priceless lesson that my mother tried desperately to teach me during her life- External Beauty holds no TRUE value. I didn’t understand why she pushed so hard against my desire to be PRETTY until I watched every copper strand of hair, both perky breasts, my endless lashes, and boundless energy abandon me in a blink of an eye. I couldn’t fully grasp how VALUABLE I was beyond my physical body until it was stripped down to it’s essence. 

“[I] put value in an asset with diminishing returns, and [Cancer] made sure all of it burned”.

 ©Andres Hernandez 2015 Shot in the middle of chemo. 

©Andres Hernandez 2015 Shot in the middle of chemo. 

We don’t deserve “bad” or “good” things in life. Life is neutral. Events Happen. People get sick. People Die. Not because they were good or bad or DESERVED it, but because that is LIFE. We can’t control the things that happen but by accepting events as they are, we can swim across them with greater ease because we are not being dragged under by their weight. 

We are all Divine because we come from the DIVINE, We are all Extraordinary because we come from the EXTRAORDINARY, we are all Love because we all come from LOVE. We lack for nothing because everything we need was given to us the moment we divided from that first cell.

Just because my body was broken it didn’t make ME a broken person. I didn't deserve cancer and I don't deserve health because the word "DESERVE", just like external beauty, holds no true value. 

Cancer gave me more than it took and healed me in places I could never reach. It helped me heal my relationship with my mother, to forgive her and to finally FORGIVE myself. 

 

Did Cancer give you a gift you never expected? What was it? Comment below. 

 

If you would like to help us make the docudramedy based on my one woman show, "I Don't Have Cancer", please donate to our Go Fund Me


Cancer Costumes...Halloween FUN

Halloween is for kids and cancer patients! There is joy that overflows from a child when asked, “What do you want to be for Halloween”. With it’s endless possibilities to express who they want to become, who they idolize. As a cancer patient the opportunity returns. 

It is a time to embrace the changes, the baldness, the scars. A time to laugh at the hand you have been dealt.

It is a day off from taking CANCER seriously. 

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It is a time to take charge of YOUR identity, even if it is just for a day. 

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Halloween 2014 -a week after my double mastectomy- there was no party but there was an appointment to remove my final drain bag. Circumstance made my costume…I was the Bride of Frankenstein, cut up and put back together. My amazing husband dressed as Dr. Frankenstein to support my crazy. 

It brought joy to what could have been an otherwise traumatizing situation. I had not seen my bare chest until that appointment and when I did my first thought was “What a FUCKING badass”. It set the tone for my journey to follow. 

 

Find out what I dressed up as this year (Spoiler: IT IS EPIC) on Instagram @AnielaMcG

 

Did you dress up during your treatment? Share what you were. Comment below.

 

If you found this helpful please donate to help make the documentary based on my one woman show, “I Don’t Have Cancer”. 

DOC TALK- with my Reconstructive Breast Surgeon

I was not afraid of cancer, I was afraid of the unknown. There are so many questions the come up when you are diagnosed- “Will I survive?” “Should I get a mastectomy?” “What will I look like?”. We look to other women and men who have been there before to get a glimpse at our possible future but every case in unique and some read more like horror stories that leave you awake at night. 

There is a point when you have to stop googling and go talk to a real expert. Dr. Christopher Low with Vanguard Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (VASPFL.com) was kind enough to let me interview him with some of my biggest breast reconstruction questions. He was also my outstanding reconstructive surgeon. You can see his work in my “Top 5 Weird Reasons I LOVE My Mastectomy” and “Mastectomy Photo Series”. 

Hopefully this will help ease some of your fears about the unknown world of reconstruction that you are heading into. 

 

Here is my list questions and you can hear all of his answers in my VLOG, “DOC TALK with my Reconstructive Breast Surgeon”:

  • When is the best time to get a Plastic Surgeon involved?
  • What is the difference between Silicone and Saline? 
  • Will Silicone make me sick if it leaks?
  • Tear drop vs. Round?
  • Bras? 
    • Can I go without a bra? 
    • Any special type of bra?
  • Nipples, what are my options?
  • Expanders, Why did I need them?
  • Why are your fingers blue?
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

What are some questions you wish you asked when you started this process? Comment Below.

 

If you found this helpful please donate to help make the documentary based on my one woman show, “I Don’t Have Cancer”. 

The best place for soft, comfortable, inexpensive, front closure sports bras for after surgery was Walmart. They were the only place that had them. Here is a link for the ones I used.