"you have cancer. it sucks"
May 3rd, 2019 - I was at a followup appointment regarding a biopsy of a polyp that was found in my colon during a recent colonoscopy. I brought my friend Jonathan for a second set of ears as well as support. I had been shitting blood for months. I don't even know how many months... this past 2 years have been a blur of stress and anxiety and inability to cope. I sat down in the proctologists office and was told "You have cancer. It sucks." I was pretty sure I had cancer but I wasn't mentally prepared to be told that; although I appreciated the proctologists realism in her words. Fuck... who the hell wants to have cancer? Like, are you fucking kidding me? Everything got kind of fuzzy after that and I only caught bits and pieces of what she told me. All I remember hearing was that it was uncommon at my age of 34, they already had appointments booked for me to find out if its spread, something about surgery, incisions in my abdomen, cutting my intestines in two, possibility of complications, maybe chemo maybe not, possibility of ostomy bag...Holy fuck what?? I was handed a thick blue folder filled with cancer information and diagrams that I promptly joked was my cancer death package and handed to Jonathan because I was not at all ready to see the contents.
We left the hospital and drove to a place called Blue Rocks just outside of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. I sat in the sun and absorbed the heat off the rocks while staring into the ocean and letting it all sink in. Intertwined with the disbelief over the reality of my life came a MASSIVE wave of relief. I FINALLY have a guilt free excuse to let everything thats stressing me out go. Although I was in shock, I knew at my core that cancer did not happen to me but rather for me.
I have not been very good to myself the past few years. On social media my life looks great but the late actor Robin Williams keeps coming to mind. I actually prayed to die a few weeks previous... life had become so emotionally painful. It is a good thing that I do not believe suicide is an option for me, NOW or EVER but I will say that I have gotten through many days fantasizing about what it would be like if I could just drive my car over a cliff. My emotional pain had become astronomical.
I've struggled with feeling 'less than', inadequate, unworthy and just generally not good enough most of my life, or at least as long as I can remember. Through all my school years (university included) I felt almost like a fake.. someone who didn't really belong but was putting on a front, pretending to be good enough to fit in with everyone else. I coped using unhealthy habits.
Once I hit 30, things started to change a bit. I started to realize that I was not 'less than', unworthy or inadequate, but knowing and feeling are two different things. I've spent the past 5 years working really hard on changing how I feel about myself but I got confused and started living out of determinism. I was determined that if I just worked really hard and overdid everything to the max, people would see my value and in turn that would help me feel value and I did achieve that to a degree. I have gotten oodles of love, support and praise from a wide variety of people and it did help me to change my thoughts about myself but I still felt empty and inadequate.
My dream had been to get this website on the go for YEARS. I knew that by sharing my experiences I could bring valuable insight to other people. I knew I could inspire growth and the feeling of joy as well as help reduce the feeling of loneness that comes with human suffering for both myself and others. However, every time I tried to start, the feeling of worthlessness came over me... "Why the hell do you think what you have to say matters you useless sack of shit?" the thought monster would repeat over and over in my brain.
The recent diagnosis of cancer has been a blessing in disguise. The fear of death made me realize that I am wasting my gifts and that I should share them with the world even if it means receiving some ridicule and nasty messages. After all, I believe that life is like a movie and I want to make my movie EPIC! One of my biggest fears in life is being on my death bed and looking back on my life with regret that I didn't just go for the things I wanted to out of fear. All superheroes have to go through ridicule and struggle before they achieve triumph and damn it, I want to be a 'superhero' and I am not ashamed of that.
Since the diagnosis, I have let everything that was causing me stress go. I had too much on my plate and it is time to return the focus back to myself, my health and my wellbeing. I have been gardening intensively for the past 5 years with the goal to grow 70% of my own food for the year and although it was a healing modality for me in the beginning to help me deal with PTSD, it has become a burden and a massive time stealer. I've come to the realization that it is the work of a group of people NOT the work of an individual. With that, I have decided not to grow a garden this year and rather find joy through enjoying other peoples gardens.
To say I am not afraid would be a lie but I will say that I am feeling very positive and looking forward to sharing my journey from cancer to full health. In saying that, I am asking that anyone who reads this to please not worry about me but rather focus on me being healthy and well. I've got a lot to give to this world and I need those good vibrations to keep me strong going forward. Being in a state of fear and stress is the worst thing for my body and well-being right now and I will accept oodles of positivity shamelessly.
Peace & Love,
Jessi what you have to say is important. And this, this right here will save someone else life when they need it most! You are already a superhero! I am sending you all the good vibes and well wishes on your trip to Hawaii! Xo