So, lung cancer sucks. Ok, you all knew that. But, it not only causes depression and even anger, it can totally destroy your self esteem. Growing up, I never had a problem with self esteem. I was on homecoming court in high school, dated the best baseball player throughout that time, who went on to play for the Atlanta Braves a short stint, and I was runner-up for Ms. Senior. Oh, the glory days of living carefree. Only then, you didn’t realize how carefree it was. At least I didn’t. College was okay too. Actually, almost every part of my life was great until 11/27/12. That was the day it all collapsed.
Anger and Depression
After finding out I had stage 4 lung cancer just after turning 34, I was angry. Many people cope in many different ways. Some meditate, exercise, or fall into a deep depression. Me? I was a little depressed and really angry. So, how did I deal with that anger? Well, I broke stuff. This is not a post to encourage you to do the same thing. But, we almost ran out of dishware. My husband now buys plates from the dollar store. So, when I need to cope over the death of a friend or just my own self pity, I break plates.
I’m considering the exercise aspect as a replacement for my plate-breaking. But, my neighbors already think I’m crazy. And no one messes with crazy.
So, back to my title. Growing up and even when grown, I had no problem in the self esteem area. I knew I was pretty. Yes, I know. It sounds vain. I’m just being honest. Because cancer stopped that real quick and put me in my place. It was humbling. I was a workaholic snob and as cut throat as they come. I didn’t empathize with people after college. I was pure business and all about the bottom line…trimming the fat. I was a mean girl. I was smart too. Especially when it came to running a hotel and restaurant. I didn’t blink twice when I fired someone.
A Change of Perspective
Now, I look back and wonder why I thought I was so much better than everyone. I wasn’t and never had been. So, yes, cancer pissed me off but it also saved me. I no longer get calls from 7 am until 2 am. I no longer have to fire people, because now I would probably cry with them. I have time to spend with my daughter. I even made time to date someone I fell in love with and get married. All of this would not have happened if cancer didn’t come into my life. Yes, some may call it a curse, but I think it’s both a blessing and a curse.
I was a neat freak before. Everything having it’s place. Now, there are kids shoes thrown about on the floor, dirty towels on the racks, dishes in the sink. My place actually looks like someone LIVES here instead of something out of a magazine.
I was a snob before. I had money. Had. Now, I know what it’s like to have to budget every little thing we do and I’ve learned that I can’t always get what I want. You all would have despised the former me. I look back and know that I did. How could I be so cruel?
I’ve also learned not to be so damn serious about everything. I always had to plan to the last detail. Now, I just roll with the punches. I’m more spontaneous than I’ve ever been and I love it. Cancer gave this to me. God woke me up.
So, the question really is, did the cancer make me a beauty or a beast? And what was I before?