Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Halfway there

I finally started to tell my family my news. Some of you might wonder why in the world I didn't tell them as soon as I got my diagnosis. Truth is, you don't know my family. It would take too much time to give a proper explanation. Suffice to say, I'm accustomed to doing things on my own and this was no different.

However, various friends of mine convinced me that perhaps I should be telling them all. So, I started with my cousin/pseudo big sister. Her and I grew up together, both living with Grandma (my dad's mom), until she went off to college at 18 (I was 8 at the time). Then, I told two other cousins. At this point, I figured I should tell my immediate family before they found out by way of family gossip and then hung me out to dry for not telling them first.

I tried calling my sister to tell her but kept chickening out and instead asked how her daughter and the family was doing every time. So, I tried my mom. I told her everything. She was disappointed I hadn't told her sooner but she seemed understanding too. She said she was proud of me for being so strong to face this and that she was proud to call me her daughter. That made me speechless. Twenty seven years I've been waiting to hear her say she was proud of me. All it took was this. She's been calling me almost daily to check in on me. Another miracle coming from her. It's amazing what a little perspective will do for her.

Mom then told my sister for me. My sister was rather ticked off I hadn't told her sooner, especially given that we talk almost every day if not multiple times a day. I hope she can understand why I didn't tell her sooner. I didn't want to worry her or stress her out.

The only main people left to tell are my little brother, my father and my grandmother on my father's side. I don't know how to tell my brother. He's 13 years old. While he's rather mature for his age, he's still only 13. I don't know what all he'll be able to grasp. My father is not speaking to me right now due to his own petty, immature issues. So, that poses it's own problem about me telling him. Telling my grandmother will be very difficult emotionally. I know she's gonna take it hard and that's gonna be hard on me. But, tomorrow, I will tell them all. I just hope I have the strength.

I still have a good 492 (only a slight exaggeration!) cousins, aunts and uncles that I haven't told. But, I'll let the family pass the info along to the rest of them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Will I"

I was given the idea to make a blog just about the journey ahead of me. I don't know if this blog will end up just being about my current situation. But, I'm sure it will be the primary focus for sure. I wanted to start off with the song that inspired the title for this. "Will I" is a song from the musical Rent. The characters are at a meeting, a group therapy session if you will, and are talking about their concerns and fears given the medical crisis they are facing. It's a song that resonates deeply within me.

"Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?"

It's a simple chorus that is repeated a few times through. That is where I am right now. I'm worried about losing my dignity. Worried about being alone, about people not caring. Worried about seeing this through to the other side.

Now, to explain all of this.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma about a month back.

I am almost 27 years old, losing my hair from chemo, and fighting for my life.

I have the strength I need to get through it because of Rent. When I am having a bad day, and feeling down about it all, I listen to the soundtrack. The music touches me in ways I can't even begin to explain. The lyrics and melodies take me to a place that makes me strong. It also reminds me to live each day as though it may be my last, to love everyone completely and to cherish what time I do have. But most importantly, to never stop fighting. The song "Will I" resonates deep within my soul. I never thought my love of RENT could get any stronger but I was mistaken. It went from being a musical that I was a huge fan of to a story that gave me the will to fight.

As such, you will probably see me quoting a lot of songs from the musical here along with giving random updates as to my health and status and whatnot.