I was excited to see that the second half of the second season of the Netflix series, Firefly Lane, was released. I was in New York City for a client, alone in my hotel room, and eager to end the day relaxing and watching the downloaded episodes on the hotel room tv.
Only I had forgotten that the last episode had ended with (spoiler alert) one of the characters being diagnosed with breast cancer.
And yes, that’s how the next episode started. And yes, I watched her doze in her chemo chair and lose her hair. (That part was fake, because she still had eyebrows…though maybe some chemo perfect poisons take the head hair and leave the eyebrows. Mine did not.)
No surprise, I was sobbing by the end of the episode.
I watched the full series. I won’t tell you all that happened. I know I didn’t have to watch it and yet I also somehow had to, though I have avoided all other cancer movies and television series. I wanted to see the rest of the story and, truthfully, watching the fictional cancer/chemo story was fascinating.
It was also devastating.
Our brains have an excellent way of forgetting our hardest moments and trauma, and there are many ways I don’t fully remember my cancer/chemo story. You just get through it as you can.
I’m still kinda reeling from it. From the cancer and the chemo and watching the series.
It kicked up fear. No surprise. I don’t think one lives through cancer without taking on fear. Sometimes it’s low-grade. Sometimes it’s all-powerful. But there’s fear.
It also kicked up determination to keep saying yes to life, even more. To live and love with all my heart. To suffer less and play more. To notice and bask and savor and give and love and laugh. Even more.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, many people said to me, “Well, if anyone can get through this, you can. You’ve gotten through so much.” I know they all meant well and were looking to support and love me with that comment, but, I’ll admit, I didn’t like it. I still don’t.
But having gotten through the cancer as well, this much I know. I will keep saying yes to life, even more.
As a survivor of complex trauma, there are emotional, mental, and physical reactions and “scars” that stay with me. That may always stay with me. I can go too easily to fear. I can lose myself and people please, sometimes without noticing it before I’m way down that path. I can push too hard and try too hard and sacrifice too much and endure too much, again without noticing it. The cancer fell right on top of all of that.
But, as I’ve said many times before, I will take more from cancer than cancer takes from me. Some of the things I’m taking from my cancer? I’m having even more compassion with and for myself for the scars and the engrained impulse reactions that I have. I’m easing my fear, and I’m pushing, trying, sacrificing, and enduring less.
I am noticing, basking, reaching, savoring, loving, laughing, and playing more.
I am saying yes to myself and to life, and I will keep doing that
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
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