Well hello again. Last time I’ve posted/reblogged something here was July 2012, and it’ll be July 1, 2014 in 29 minutes. I don’t really know what caused me to log in again (to be honest I’m surprised I even remembered my log in information). Actually, I guess I do know why I’m here. I needed to say something (or rather, some things) that I’ve kept inside for quite a long time—about a little over half a year. But I didn’t want to say these things to someone. Instead I decided to say them to something. So here I am, writing a post on tumblr once again.
The impetus that led me to typing all of this right now was Relay for Life. Last Friday was my 3rd time participating in the event. So, same old same old, right? Wrong. It was by far the most emotional Relay I have ever attended. Why? Let’s go back to November 2013.
So here we are, in the midst of my 3rd month of my freshman year of college. It was the week before my nineteenth birthday, and it was quite an eventful week. I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k with two of my best friends during the previous weekend, which led to Kalee and I getting pretty sick. (Both of us had an awful sore throat, stuffy nose, relentless coughing, etc. We basically sounded like 80 year old chain smokers). Don’t get me wrong, the 5k was one of the most amazing times I’ve had in my life and I was grateful to be able to experience. The aftermath? Not so much. (Now I’ll think twice about running a race in cold Chicago weather). To add on, I had my Honors 101 midterm that following Friday. Ironically, my friend Ruth also caught quite the sickness that week. She had it much worse than I did though, with an ear infection in both ears. But now I’m just rambling so let me continue on.
There we were, the week before my birthday, suffering from awful diseases that plagued our bodies. Meanwhile, Ruth and I were studying for our ridiculously impossible Honors midterm (we both ended up doing quite well, thankfully.) A little bit of info about this honors class: the first year of Honors seminar is ruthlessly difficult and the epitome of weedout classes. On the exams, we had 50 minutes to write an essay comparing two novels and identify 6 quotes (naming the book, author, speaker, audience, and themes related to the quote). Oh yeah, we read a total of 10 novels and learned 2 art units, PER SEMESTER. So I guess you can imagine the stress that was put on us that week. But how does this relate to why I’m writing this post? Am I just ranting about the amount of work that we were forced to do in this course? No. Just keep reading, if you wish.
After we took the exam that Friday, our wrists were unbearably sore from writing vigorously for 50 minutes straight. But we were relieved and excited because that Friday, all three of us were going home. We all lived relatively close to campus, within 1-1 1/2 hours of driving, and we all couldn’t wait to get home, sleep in our cozy beds, shower without shoes on, and have our parents pamper us until we recovered to a healthy state.
When I got home that evening, I looked awful. The midterm drained all of the little energy I had left from studying all week while being sick. But things were about to take an unexpected turn.
As I was sitting on the floor in the family room talking to my mom and sisters, joking around with them even, my mother told me, “I’m so glad you’re home. But unfortunately I have bad news.”
My eyes started welling up with tears immediately. I didn’t even know they could tear up that fast. “It’s cancer?”
She nodded. Two weeks ago I got a call from my mom asking me to pray for her because the radiologist found something in her mammogram and wanted to her to get a biopsy, to see whether the spot was cancerous or not. The odds of her not having cancer were somewhat favorable, like 80-20 or something like that. A 20% chance of cancer. Well, my mother has been a generally lucky woman her entire life, and she told me not to worry. All we could do was have faith that God would let whatever will be, be.
To be frank, I had completely forgotten about the biopsy that week. Of course, I was extremely worried for her after she called me, but with everything that was going on at school, it wasn’t really at the top of my mind. I started sobbing, upset because it just wasn’t fair. Why did it have to be her, out of all people? She was the most generous, kind, funny, lucky woman I knew. Why did she have to be a part of the 20%? Here I was, excited to go home because I expected to be taken care of by my mother. What really upset me was that there she is, and I can’t take care of her. Although I was pretty ill, I knew I would recover. Easily. Cancer, however, would be more stubborn.
That night, I called Harmony and bawled on the phone for like an hour. Then I cried myself to sleep, and continued crying right after I woke up in the morning because that was when I told Alyssa and Kalee. I hated crying because I hated showing my vulnerability. I hated showing this side of me.
So yeah, this is the main reason why I’m writing on tumblr. My mom has cancer, and I’ve only told a few people about it. But I haven’t told them everything. I never really told anyone how I felt when my mom broke the news to me. I mean yeah, I was upset, but there was more. I was heartbroken, I felt hopeless, dejected. I never told them about how I was angry because my mom was sick and I couldn’t do anything to help her. I never told them about how there wasn’t really a grieving process in my family. I was the last one to know. My mom knew about my midterm and decided to hold off on telling me because she didn’t want me to worry in the midst of my studying (she also thought that this is something you should say in person). So I have no idea when the results actually came in, when she found out, when my sisters and dad and brother found out. I have no idea exactly how emotional everyone was or whether they cried or whatever. So we didn’t cry together, and I felt silly for being the only one crying about it for three days straight so any crying I did was done alone in my room. Gosh, I felt so silly for being so emotional.
There are a few more people I’d like to tell, just because they’re close enough to me that they deserve to actually know what’s going on in my life. But it’s hard. It’s too difficult to bring it up because there’s never really a good time to do so. Like what, am I just going to burst everyone’s bubble and be like, “Oh hey guys. What’s up with me? Oh yeah well my mom has cancer. That’s my life so far right now.” But last Friday at Relay for Life, I broke.
In the middle of the Luminaria Ceremony, I started sobbing. This was my 3rd time seeing this greatly emotional, supportive event for those who have been affected by cancer, but it was the first time I was emotionally touched by it. Harmony, Kalee, Alyssa, and Khushboo were by my side and hugged me as I cried. Later on I found out that the twins put two and two together (which is great because they were one of those whom I wanted to tell but didn’t know how to). I never expected to be that emotional during the ceremony, and honestly I hated it because I was showing my vulnerability to about twenty other people on our Relay team that I was friends with but weren’t extremely close to. But in the end, I am eternally and extremely grateful for my friends because I was able to show my true feelings about everything in a place other than my bedroom and with people other than my own self. I mean, I still don’t like showing all of this vulnerability, but it felt good to get it all out. It was bottled up for too long. And despite my sarcasm and bitterness, which you can probably detect through the tone in this post, I am sincerely, genuinely, and forever thankful for all that my friends have done for me. Love you guys.
Well, this was a long post. And even though I’ve been gradually opening up to people about everything, I still thought that I needed to write this. Not only does my mom want to keep the whole cancer thing on the down low (she’s very personal about it, a lot of my extended family doesn’t even know yet), but I really hate burdening people. Yeah, all my friends said if I ever needed to talk, they’d be there for me. Yeah, I know I’ll always have my family to talk to if I ever need it. But I can’t seem to ever talk about it without breaking down crying. Some nights, when I’m thinking about it, I end up crying myself to sleep. Plus I don’t want anyone’s pity or have them worrying. They have other things to worry about in their life, this will be mine. It’s just that I really needed to get all of this out, since I haven’t ever before. Not since last November. Good thing is, this actually helped. So thanks tumblr. Thanks for being there when I can’t or dont want to go to anyone else.