Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Coming out of the Cancer Closet

It's been 8 months now since I was diagnosed with Esophagus Cancer Stage 3B and I have only told a few of my friends because, for some (or various) reason it isn't something I wanna go public about. When my mom got sick with RCC (Renal Cell Carcinoma), she was very open about it, everybody knew she was sick, her friends, family (obviously), workmates and even just acquaintances. For me however, going public about it is a whole different thing, I mean, it's not because I think it's something that should be a secret or anything but I just don't feel quite comfortable with people knowing, you know? 

One of the big reasons, and I know it might sound stupid, is because I don't want people to pity me, I don't want them to think of me as a victim, or call me "warrior' or such things that would only piss me off rather than actually help me or make me feel better because they feel condescending. Now, I know many people wouldn't do that, but most of them would; and being or feeling like a victim is the least I want or need right now. I just wanna feel like a normal person, who is sick, yes, but who's still normal and capable of having a good life even if it's just for a few more years.

My sister sometimes insists on me going public about it but I am still not sure even after such a long time, I guess I wanna wait until I finish chemo first, once I do and I know more about what's exactly going to happen for me in the next couple of years, then maybe I will feel better about opening up about it.

Another thing is that I am a YouTuber (along with my sister) and even though I am not that famous or anything, I am still sort of a public figure and I don't know how people would react to it, I mean, yeah, I'd get a lot of support from many people, sure, but I know there would probably also be people who's super idiotic and would say some things like "they're glad I'm sick" or something of the sorts, you know? (Internet, unfortunately, allows a lot of a-holes to express their irrelevant opinions on things that don't even concern them at all!) And I don't think I am prepared to do that, at this point, I don't know if I'd have the strength to deal with it, so, that's another reason I don't wanna go public about it.

However, physical changes are happening such as hair loss (one of the worst side effects), bloated face and things that are pretty noticeable, so I am thinking that would be a reason I'd open up about it, though I don't feel quite ready just yet; but also, I don't want people asking questions about these changes, like, why I now wear a hat all the time (which I am completely tired of!) or why sometimes I look like I ate myself and got so bloated or things like that. So, I am thinking I either come out about it or stop making videos, which I don't want to do because it is one of the things I enjoy the most about my life at the time. I have a lot of fun making them and it is something that makes me feel good in general and it's also something to keep me busy (besides work) and keep my mind occupied with good/fun things, rather than sad, awful things like the hospitalization every month, side effects and the general sadness and/or depression a disease like this can cause.

So yeah, I wanted to write about it now because it always helps me write what and how I feel, it's a very cathartic process for me so here I am. Although when this is published, it will probably be at least a couple of months old. Still, I have hopes that this might help someone else who is in the same situation as me or a similar one and they identify themselves with me and feel empathy; I've found empathy to be a very helpful thing in situations like these, even if it comes from a stranger. Just reading or hearing about someone who's been or is going through the same things/processes you're going through can be quite...comforting, as it sort of lets you know you're not alone, that there's someone out there who feels just the way you feel and that is going through the exact same thing and actually understands what you're going through.

So, if you're out there reading this and are going through the same or a similar situation, please, feel free to reach out.


 

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