On June 23rd, 2022 I was given a tentative diagnosis of lymphoma. I received the call in the morning while walking to get my morning coffee, oat cortado is usually my choice. I had gone to see the doctor a few days before for a strange pain near my liver. The doctor told me that she looked up the CT scans, and unfortunately, it looked like it was lymphoma. I sat down on the concrete steps in front of a stranger's home and received the news, as the call went on I began to cry more and more.
After that call, I called my girl (let’s call her L). She was still in bed, my call woke her up. I told her I had cancer and we cried together. After that call, I called my brother (let’s call him C). I cried more, he reassured me that lymphoma is one of the most treatable cancers, even curable in some cases. After that call, I called my parents — they already knew I was scared when I first mentioned the CT scan a few days before. Parents always know. I cried the most with them. Everyone I talked to on the phone consoled me and told me that they loved me and that we will get through this together.
The power of words and our association with them is a strange phenomenon. It’s been a few days since I was given the diagnosis and saying the phrase “I have cancer” doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel real in the sense that it doesn’t feel like I’m talking about myself. I’ve never had the thought of having cancer before. I’ve thought about death and even experienced “death” through spiritual and psychedelic ceremonies. But I’ve never thought I’d say “I have cancer.” (Per L’s orders cancer has been relegated to “my illness”).
For the past week, two things have changed. I’ve been seeing a lot of doctors, and my parents came to stay with me at least until I start my treatment. Other than that, my life has not changed much. I still work, I still wake up early, walk to get my coffee, and spend at least an hour reading at the park. The only difference is that I don’t take it for granted anymore.
Being faced with the uncertainty of a life-threatening disease forces you to wake up and pay close attention. You don’t become instantly awakened and live in full presence. But you do start to have more moments of clarity and focus as life unfolds before your eyes. More moments where you recognize that you won’t be around forever and that whatever is happening right now is probably the closest thing you’ll ever be to a genuine experience of truth and connection. So you begin to cherish those moments at least a little bit more.
From the moment I received the news, I was swaddled with love and support. I’ve always known that I'm supported but seeing it come together, in such a scary and uncertain time has crystallized it for me. I am certain that I will beat this disease and have a long, peaceful, and meaningful life.
Thank you for reading my post. Throughout my journey, I will keep myself accountable by posting updates on this account every Friday. I thank the Mirror team for building such an amazing platform that allows me to tell this story anonymously. You can reach me through DM on Twitter.