For the last couple weeks, I have been especially worried about my brother. To be sure, his health is never something far from my daily thoughts….but lately I’ve had some bad days. I thought it might be misplaced pregnancy anxiety, but I’m realizing my worries might have more to do with the upcoming cancer anniversary.
This is about the time of year (two years ago) when my brother first started to show signs of an illness. So, maybe it’s just the season. There are clothes I pull out of my closet at about this time of year that remind me of the hospital. The things I was pestering him about right before he got sick are the same things I am pestering him about right now…prom dates and spring break. Even someone’s mention of the March Madness basketball tournament triggers really awful diagnosis memories for me.
I know there are people, who read this blog, who might have been sick themselves or have had a sick friend or family member and so I wanted to share these feelings. For me, it’s better when I can talk about it. Sometimes I feel ashamed that I still spend time reading leukemia research studies, still google drug side effects, still have tears and sleepless nights. But I know I’m not the only one. I find comfort in the community of cancer survivors and caregivers that I’ve come to know, and I know that most of us share the common knowledge that cancer is never over. There is no 100% cure guarantee.
Many years ago when I had just started my first ‘real job’, I came across a quote that I wrote down and pinned to the wall of my cubicle. “The opposite of worry is action.” The mantra helped me to act on projects or goals that were especially challenging…it helped me to not sit at my desk frozen in first-job fear. It’s a mantra that has stayed with me, and one I rely on today whenever I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed.
When it comes to cancer, the actions that help counteract my worries can be as simple as making the drive to spend time with my family or texting my brother or educating myself on a medical condition he is facing. But sometimes, the actions that make me feel the best are bigger. Like, spending time with a new group of OKC do-gooders called the Swab Squad. The Swab Squad came together not long after my IgniteOKC talk (which you can now watch here). We’re working to promote awareness of the need for stem cell donors, and we’ll also be setting up swabbing drives at events around Oklahoma City.
I’m also continuing to help plan the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Barons’ Ball and will participate on my family’s Relay for Life team this June. If you’d like to donate, please visit my Relay page. None of these activities completely replace my anxiety, but I feel better when I am using my mind, body and talents to combat the disease I loathe so much.
P.S. Check out what these brave moms are doing to fight back against cancer.