I'm writing "A Sophisticate is a Cancer Slayer" and "A Sophisticate Survives Breast Cancer" to rid myself of the memory of the this past year. The year I spent fighting Breast and Ovarian Cancer. Similar to the reason why I created Sophisticate in the Suburbs™ in the first place, I write to understand, I write to let go, and I write to fight my demons. That is why at a general level I am writing about my experience with Cancer.
Some demons do not come in the form of emotions or vices (A Sophisticate is a Sinner), some demons are real and take the shape and form of a tumor.
When I was told I had a cancerous tumor in my breast the "how's" and "why's" of getting Cancer did not matter to me. The "how's" of getting rid of the tumor and living to see another day became my number one priority and primary concern.
When I got the phone call telling me of the diagnosis, the first thing that came to mind was to to fight and get the tumor out of my body as soon as possible If I could have had surgery the day after I found out about the cancerous tumor in my body, I would have. Besides a second biopsy on the breast that didn't have a tumor (it was downgraded to a second 3D Mammogram), I did whatever surgeries and tests needed to be done as fast as my schedule and the Doctor's schedule allowed.
My decisions were made easy since I wanted to live and every alternative ended in death. Surgery or die? Chemo or die? Radiation or die?
There is no one way to fight Cancer. There are tips and techniques to survive (A Sophisticate Survives Breast Cancer) but "slaying" is much different from surviving. Surviving Cancer is all about trying, since this is one of the only circumstances a Sophisticate faces that she has no say in the matter of her fate and living another day may not be an option.
"Slaying" required action. I did not hope. With a fast growing tumor, there was no time to hope or even feel, it was all about action and fighting back against the disease. (A Sophisticate Fights Back)
Imagine the worst flu you have ever had combined with the worst hangover you ever had all rolled up into one day and feeling everyday until it works through your system. There are days a Sophisticate feels so bad she has to focus everything in her mind towards living on hour intervals.
To "slay" my demon or disease, on my good days I went for walks. On my bad days I laid in bed watching action movies with fictional strong females in the lead, "Atomic Blonde", "Kill Bill I & II", "Long Kiss GoodNight", and "Point of No Return" were on replay. And yes, '"Game of Thrones" and "The Hunger Games'" were thrown in for good measure of course.
Mentally I kept my mind busy by spending time posting at least five women a day on my Global Women's History website. Reading and learning about women who overcame obstacles and who imparted such wisdom helped me want to fight to live. Most, if not all of the women I posted overcame some type of hardship. If they could, why couldn't I?
"Here's some advice. Stay alive" Suzanne Collins "The Hunger Games"
With the effects of Chemotherapy treatment on my body I utilized everything I learned from watching my mother go through when she had Ovarian Cancer. For Example, to stop my nails yellowing I put nail polish and nail strengthener on everyday. I had my Dentist prescribe special toothpaste that would combat my teeth getting yellow. I changed the way I ate and started eating fruit and salads. Finally, I wore a wig and did Cosplay's to mentally refocus, leave my life to enter into another one, and have fun.
"Life not the afterlife is heaven." Sophisticate in the Suburbs™
"Stay Alive" as the words so often came from my father's lips soon were repeated inside my mind, every second of every day. Cancer taught one thing, that there is no glory in dying, only living. Cancer reminded me of the lesson that I started to be aware of when I read the play "Our Town" in High School. An afterlife is uncertain but life with it's pain and tears brings the certainty of happiness.
"As long as there is life, there is happiness. There is a great deal, a great deal before us." Leo Tolstoy 'War and Peace'
In the end, a Sophisticate is a Cancer slayer because she "slays" the demons inside her whether they be emotional or physical because she knows that she fights for life and thus, happiness.