In the deep

Written by Amy Banocy

March 17, 2023

Two years ago today I stepped out my front door, my heart beating fast and my stomach doing flips.
I had hugged each of my boys as they got ready for virtual school that morning. I vividly remember Derek grabbing my bag and walking in front of me, out the door, toward the car. I was frozen at the top step, my mom and dad just inside the open doorway. I hugged each and our anxieties melded together.
I smiled, raising my eyebrows, my face conveying “well here we go”. None of us knew what to expect. This day, March 17 2021 was the start of what would become a marathon, with many unexpected bumps and detours.

As I sit here today, tears filling my eyes. I’m trying to determine what the tears mean.

I made it through, so are they tears of joy? Of gratitude?

But I had to go through it all. My own personal hell. So are they tears of anger?

I hate that so many other women are leaving their homes today to go sit in that chair, be poked and invaded by a drug that may save them and will more than likely bring on some horrible side effects and a lot of emotional trauma. Perhaps these are tears of solidarity? Tears of anger and sadness for them?

I hate that until 2021 this day, March 17 was always such a joyous day for me.
March 17 is my niece’s birthday, and she is filled with light full of joy.
And I hate that this day has been overtaken by the memories of chemotherapy.

Tears are now making their way down my face.
I feel angry.
So much anger.

I was recently told by a fellow breast cancer survivor that my journey was no different than what any other woman with breast cancer has experienced and that I’m choosing to use my story as a vehicle for self promotion, publication and profit. And this, from someone I knew personally, not some internet troll.

While I’m feeling all of these emotions today, I’m now so fucking mad because I hear her words in my head and begin to question myself, the validity of feeling how I do and my desire/need to talk about it. It pisses me off that another woman, a fellow breast cancer survivor, a human, any human, could make me feel like I shouldn’t share my feelings, feel my emotions deeply and be my true, authentic self simply because she may have chosen not to.

We all choose to process, to grieve, in our own way. Nobody is right or wrong. I will never tell someone that my way is the right way and it saddens me that someone else has done that to me.

Fuck that. It doesn’t sadden me. It enrages me.

Thankfully I choose to surround myself with people who truly know me and understand me. Today, they reminded me that I don’t know how many people I am being a lighthouse for and to continue sharing my story and my authentic, true self.

So today, I will sit in the deep muck. I will cry for many reasons. I may scream. I will breathe deeply. I will write, and I will share my words, because damnit I am allowed to. It’s how I grieve. It’s how I continue to live. It’s how I try to make sense of things. And it’s me. 100% real me!

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