I remember now.
I’ve always wanted to tell people around me that I wanted to just stop. Or maybe just take a pause- from everything. A pause would probably do. It would have been enough to change the course of my life. It would have saved me. Not that I wasn’t saved, because I was. I am, for now.
I remember I’ve always wanted to say, “Can I not do this and that?”
And I’d expect them to ask me back, “But why?”
And my honest answer would have been, “Because I’m tired and I want to just sleep and rest and try to love myself…”
I would think twice about asking it because it might sound as if I am selfish. And I don’t want to be one. Little did I know that there is a way to do it. Little did I know that I can still serve and help others without abandoning myself. Little did I know that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of myself. I wish I could have known. I wish someone could have told me, at least, or slapped me in the face, it would have been alright.
Ever since I started living for Christ way back since my sophomore years in college, I’ve always tried my best to have a grip of His word. I have learned a lot since then, but what I didn’t probably learn was that I can take care of myself without being selfish or without abandoning responsibilities and that i should take care of my health first and foremost to be able to experience more from life and that taking care of my health is NOT being selfish at all. And that sometimes, sometimes, it’s alright to stop thinking about others and start thinking for myself.
But then again, what do I know? How can a 23-year-old-trying-hard-young-adult suppose to know that?
So, my life reset wasn’t as good as I wanted or imagined it would be. It happened in a way no one would ever want. It happened in one of the worst ways a person could go through or end up. It was very difficult and I literally gave up along the process. I told God:
This is it. I can’t do this anymore. Lisod mani Lord oi! Death is better than dying. This dying process is horrible and extremely depressing. Do you not know that? I would rather choose death- sudden, painless death- than to go through this process- this slow process of dying. Why can’t I just die right away? I want to die right away. Right now, please take me, I am ready because I think I’ve done the things that I have to. See, I already know where I’m headed after this! Okay nako Lord! And this thing that’s happening to me, to be honest, I hate this, I don’t understand this, I don’t want and need all these! I don’t know what you’re trying to teach me. I don’t want to learn this way. I’m not even sure if I could survive this and, if ever I survive this, there’s even a chance that I might not live long, right? You know I’ve always been obedient to you, but this is too much. I’ve been a great burden to this family, I think they are better off without me. I really think they wouldn’t have a hard time dealing with my death. You can take me now.
So, at that time, I try to close my eyes as I lay exhausted in my bed. And I wait…
I wait for……. something? Yeah, like something bad to happen to me (as if having cancer isn’t bad enough). Or maybe for the world to end. Like maybe I could have cardiac arrest right now or I could have trouble breathing or bleed to death all of a sudden. Yes, I am waiting and I am ready.
But after a few hours, I wake up and realize I have only fallen asleep! I wake up and still alive. I thought I was gonna die. Why am I still here?!
And I try to check my mind if I have become suicidal enough to look at my blanket and think of it as a suicide rope, and I also try to imagine a knife and check if I am tempted to stab myself to death or cut my wrist with it. But nil, nada, none. So therefore I am not (yet?) suicidal and I am not (yet?) crazy. I’m not really sure if I should be thankful for this.
But this wasn’t always my case. At the start of this battle, I was sure of myself that I am going to beat this. I kept telling myself: this is going to be hard but I’m going to make this just easy and I’m going to slip through this situation as smoothly as possible like nothing happened, and be back to normal in no time that people are going to be surprised and say, “oh wow you really survived it like nothing happened to you, amazing”. I am going to take my life back and going to prove to people around me that I’m not being punished, that I am strong, that I can win this! Yeah, let’s do this chemo!
Yes, I kept telling myself I can beat cancer the moment I realized that there is no easy way out of this and that this is not a dream and I don’t have any choice but to go through this. But as I entered into the intense part of my treatment, depression became stronger and deeper (though I’m not sure if it was the side effect of the treatment or the side effect of being diagnosed with cancer or the side effect of dying itself). And I slowly realized that my most abominable enemy is not really cancer but despair.
I really believe that battle with cancer will always be hard, it will always be full of pain and suffering, and that being diagnosed with it and the thought of having it, at times, is more painful than treatment itself. However, the battle gets even tougher if despair comes along the way and messes with your battle plan and your fight song.
Sometimes, depression reigns and eats your day instead of you just fighting your way through. It sucks, cancer sucks. I knew it was going to be hard, but I never thought it was going to be this difficult.