My Aunt Mona is an amazing person. She’s been through a lot, including 6 years of having stage 4 ovarian cancer, yet her motto is still “Keep calm and carry on.” She even gave me one of those posters and I have it up on my wall. But I haven’t been too good at taking that advice though, until now.
I know I’ve always had it super easy. Great opportunities just fall in my lap, and I have a giant group of supportive people who care about my well-being. But until now, I always preferred to ignore that and focus on the little stressors of school, transitions, etc. Rather than keeping things in perspective, I tend to act like whatever tiny thing going on with me is the biggest problem on the world — even when people close to me go through major difficulties.
I have now been given the opportunity to really, truly put things in perspective and reevaluate my priorities. Last week I was diagnosed with melanoma. Skin cancer isn’t too common for someone my age, and melanoma is scary enough without all the accompanying dialogue about a tumor, oncologist, prognosis, blah blah blah.
So, I’ve gone through a lot of weird emotions. Like shock, fear, worry, defiance (is that an emotion?), lots of hope and positivity, and certainly a lot of thankfulness. Thankful to have my amazing family come up to see me for the holidays and to see me through surgery, thankful for my roommate who is really the most awesome lady ever, thankful for having one of the top doctors in the field, and thankful that everything should be OK because we seem to have caught it early. I had a full day at the cancer center today, I’ll have a preparatory appointment Thursday, and then I have surgery Friday to remove the remaining tumor as well as a lymph node or two. But when the doctor seems confident, that’s good news to me.
So that’s really what I’ve come away with. Yes, this is scary and tough to deal with, but it’s definitely not impossible–and I’m very fortunate that the circumstances are quite positive, considering what they could be. Mainly it’s been a major paradigm shift for how I view what’s really worth stressing about and what’s not.
Sure, I have had a few moments of panic/overreactions (I’m sure my family can attest to that); things like this can be a roller coaster. But I’m very positive and ready to get everything taken care of this week so I can go back to being a law student who doesn’t do anything but study. Doesn’t that sound like the life?