I’ve been having a hard time finding the right words for this column because, like everyone else, I am struggling to understand life right now.
Everything in my struggle tells me to tell you, “Keep holding on to faith. Faith over fear. Live in love. Watch your words because you can unknowingly hurt someone. Life is precious, people, no matter whose life it is. In the end, all we have is each other. Life is a Gift.”
I recently had a lot of blood taken to see if my body is still behaving itself; to see if my white and red blood cells are still where they need to be; to see if my kidneys and liver are still functioning as they should. You are probably thinking…it’s just that time again when one goes to the doctor to get a checkup, right? No big deal. Wrong. Because right now, no one could come with me to hold my hand, to help me through my anxiety that, if my blood tests came back skewed, it might be cancer again. Life-after-cancer fear, anxiety and trauma are very real.
I want the world to go back to normal so badly. Especially my world before my cancer. Instead, I worry, “Why can’t I lose this stupid weight? Could it be cancer? Why do I have constant breast, rib and leg pain?” It is always the thought, ‘could it be cancer?’ Why do I get so exhausted? Could it be cancer? I try so hard to overcome thinking ‘could it be cancer’ that sometimes I exhaust myself. Add in a world pandemic, and it doesn’t help with the anxiety.
I try to get out of my own way as I sit with these feelings and emotions, trying to calm the storm inside of me. But I feel like I have to be honest that, even as a yogi, even as a person who seems to have everything together, even I need a little help from time to time. I recently decided to take medication for my anxiety. I am fine most of the time, but with the recent fear of the virus and my scans, I decided that I needed something to help take off the edge a little. I knew I could no longer handle things on my own. I also know this will not be forever, but for now, it has really made a big difference. I also continue talking to my therapist, and it helps.
For those of you who might be struggling too, you are not alone. You do not need to be ashamed. Not everyone will understand that for cancer survivors, cancer never leaves our minds. Not everyone will have compassion. I am fighting my fears. I am trying my best to let go of what I cannot control and focus on the things I can – just as I did when going through my cancer. I can control what I eat, how I exercise, and when I need to ask for help. I am trying to stay fit in mind, body and soul. I am starting a search for the right surgeon to help remove my implant then reconstruct both breasts to look normal again.
I am doing everything I possibly can in a hard world right now, and that is all I can control. It is a lot to handle, even without a pandemic.
So, remember, as you read this, think of others; be a kind human. Try to remember that you do not know what goes on in someone else’s life unless you live with them. Have compassion and live for today because a lot of people will never see tomorrow.
Shay Moraga is a stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer thriver. She is the founder of Shay’s Warriors – Life After Cancer and a yoga instructor for those who have gone through cancer. Contact her at [email protected] or find her on Facebook or Instagram.