Everyone reacts differently to traumatic situations and everyone has different coping mechanisms that align with those reactions. Cancer has reiterated something I probably already knew about myself…my thoughts go to a very dark place if left to fester.
Cancer also pointed a spotlight at something I had taken for granted. I had always been capable. I got things done. I’m Leslie Knope, getting involved and sometimes over-extending myself. When I got cancer, I was no longer able to trust my capabilities. I was weak, physically and emotionally. I was, for the first time in my life, fragile. And it didn’t sit well.
So I set a nearly impossible goal, a goal beyond my physical strength and experience level. I would turn a place beautiful using power tools and my own stubborn grit. I would rebuild my life in a most literal way. Chemo and surgery and depression be damned. I would do whatever the fuck I wanted to do; just like before, only a little harder.
My mom, who had already given me everything, gave me one more precious thing: the condo next door.
There were probably many who thought this was a lousy idea. There were even a few who didn’t think I could pull it off. I mean, I had just had 6 months of chemo and a double mastectomy. Should I even be on that ladder with a crowbar?
That is exactly why I did it. I needed an accomplishment that exceeded even my own high expectations. I also wanted proof that breast cancer can’t hold a woman back, not even close. Mission accomplished.