This world is full of terrible monsters lurking in every corner, but this isn’t Randall walking through your closet at night to gather energy from your terror. These kind of monsters feast on health and happiness. They try to suck every ounce of serotonin out of your system. They target not only you but also every person close to you. Your family. Your friends. Your lover(s). They reside inside of you and when they become large enough in number, they attack. Snickering, they take your kidneys. Or skin. Or brain. Or anything in your body with cells. That’s everything. You are cells. Cells are the basic unit of life. Everything alive, from sloths to bamboo, from the lotus flower to humans. It’s a game to these monsters. They think they can barge in and put a stop to just anyone’s heart. They don’t care who it is. Elderly, teenager, newborn, middle-aged man on roller skates (for my CAH folks) it doesn’t matter. They are ruthless.
I told the monsters to, excuse my language, fuck off. They didn’t belong in my brain. I did not grant these pests to take shelter in my fourth ventricle and around my brain stem. I didn’t want the thirty-three rounds of local photon radiation to the fourth ventricle of my brain. I did not want to meet a six year old and listen to her list off her chemotherapy poisons. Vincristine. Cyclophosphimide. Etoposide. Cisplatin. I didn’t ask to lose half of my hearing at fifteen years old. I never asked to weigh ninety-five pounds at sixteen years old. I didn’t want a radiation treatment for my sixteenth birthday. I damn sure didn’t welcome these fiends back four years later.
But you know what?
And I got through it
Am I angry? Truthfully I was for a long time. Before cancer, I was a happy teenager just trying to make it through high school. The first diagnosis, I was overwhelmed with support from my family and peers and I never lost faith. The second diagnosis saw a different Rachael. It saw an empty carcass full of bottled up anger. On the outside I would pretend I was all put together and strong and like I had no doubts. My soul was eating itself. I loved meeting friends at St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital and there were absolutely times I was full of laughter and real smiles with friends and family. Behind that, though, I was convinced I was going to die. I lost my faith. Finally, the end of treatment came. Thirty Full Crainio-Spinal (entire brain and spine) treatments, some photon and others proton, and I was done!
I was then told that I have necrosis (death of healthy tissue) in two places in my brain. One spot was the fourth ventricle and the other was the Pons of my brain stem. I planned my funeral. Literally. Instead pf a traditional burial, I wanna shake it up. I believe it is very important for loved ones to see their deceased friends/family one last time. That is their final time to say goodbye. I want a viewing, then I want to be cremated. I found a website called The Living Urn.
The Living Urn allows you to choose a tree/plant and for “x” amount of money they will send you a sapling of the chosen tree. You plant the tree somewhere with the ashes and the ashes help the sapling to grow into a beautiful tree. I think that is delicate and beautiful. I chose a Southern Magnolia for my tree. The magnolia reminds me of my grandmother. She lived next door to me my entire life and we were very close once.
I never even ordered the sapling.
I, thankfully, never felt it necessary. Thanks to a very good friend, I rejoined the church and I began to regain my faith and hope. At the sound of the trumpets, the walls around my heart came tumbling down. I acquired the strength to move forward; to embrace my new normal for all that I am. I found the courage to ask God to forgive me for straying so far. I grew the backbone I should have long before and entwined myself in the grace of God. Life is much too precious to bottle things up.
The evil inside was exercised with the worship of our Lord and Savior.
There is beauty in each and every breath you take. When you hit rock bottom, there’s no where to go but up.