“At 31, Your Body is Going to go to Pieces”

My best friend told me that 31 was going to bring on all sorts of fun problems. “Watch out for 31! Your body is going straight to hell.” I just don’t think he meant cancer. On Wednesday the 14th, my worst fear was confirmed. After a full month of testing, the results came back. I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I am 31 years old and I have cancer. I just came from a fabulous camping trip, where I spent most of my time staring into a fire and screaming inside of my head. There was a moment where I was sitting on a rock, watching a waterfall and I just wanted to stand up and scream “WHAT THE FUCK!” Because really…what the fuck?!

And I know that it is all random. I have been told it is the best and most treatable cancer to get. But that doesn’t make this any easier. It doesn’t make me any less peeved that this is happening to me at this exact time in my life.

Three months ago I met an amazing Uruguayan man. Three months into our relationship I had to tell him that I have cancer. I meet a person I actually want to date, something that has not happened since 2012, and I get a disease where the cure is going to take my hair, my body, my sex drive, my energy. Oh, we’ve only known each other for three months and by the way my mom is coming for…I don’t know how long. We have had these amazing three months and now we are in for six of some of the worst. Think you can handle that?

Four months ago I was flying in from the Amazons in Colombia, planning my next trip to Bolivia in my head for summer break. Now I have a six month do not pass borders sentence where I have to avoid places with germs…so basically everywhere people are. Summer is coming and I don’t even know if I am going to be able to enjoy it because my skins is going to be extra sensitive and my bones may hurt and I shouldn’t do any heavy exercise.

Two months ago I was planning parties and weekend trips, hoping to celebrate every moment with my friends as they begin to wind down their time in Uruguay. And now I cannot drink and may not have the energy to even go to events or grab dinner with a friend. Even my birthday camping trip was shadowed with cancer. I love birthdays. And I am 31. I should be out celebrating life and making really stupid decisions that I will regret in the morning as my 6am alarm goes off, but all I can do is sit and stare and wonder about the next horrible six months. Will my hair fall out? How badly will my mouth taste like metal? Will I feel ill every treatment? Will I lose my ability to think and remember and explain? Will I be able to keep teaching the whole time?

It’s not that I don’t think I can get through this. I have powered through other ailments before but this one. But it still fucking sucks. This one is taking everything I love away and substituting in everything I hate. And it makes me so mad that I am 31 and I have cancer. Tomorrow is a new day. And I will put on a smile and face whatever it is I need to face because I honestly have no choice. And the people around me need my strength right now because there is going to be a day that I won’t be able to give it to them. But it’s my party and I can cry if I want to. After all, I’m 31 and I have cancer.

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