When I was first diagnosed with vulvar cancer, I wasn't sure what journey lie ahead of me. So many decisions to make.
When my doctor, Patricia Eifel, M.D., laid out my radiation treatment plan, it seemed rather long. But I thought I could do it. Then she decided to add chemotherapy once a week as well. So, on Mondays, I got radiation in the morning and chemo for five hours in the afternoon. Mondays were very long days.
Stressing over my vulvar cancer treatment
About three weeks into my treatments, I began to feel agitated and began to suffer from vulvar cancer treatment side effects. I didn't want to have cancer. I didn't want chemo and the weakness and nausea that go with it.
I didn't want the endless IV insertions. I have small veins anyway and it was painful to find one. They didn't give me a port because I was scheduled for only six chemo cycles.
I didn't want the radiation burns that began to appear. I didn't want the pain and suffering. I'm not good at it. I was stressed and fought internally about this whole thing. It was harder than I'd imagined it would be.
Accepting my vulvar cancer treatment
But one day in the hospital I had an epiphany. Fighting against each painful step of my vulvar cancer treatment was not helping me. It was hurting my healing. I had to somehow come to terms with what was happening to me and make peace with it.
I had to accept that there were things happening that I didn't want to happen and I had to accept it. If I didn't surrender to this painful treatment, I would surely lose my life. It's a tough place to be. Get treatment or die. It was that simple. I began to surrender in my mind and heart to treatment and remind myself that this would stop the growth of the vulvar cancer if I could just endure it.
Fight the cancer, not the treatment
A peace came over me as I let go. It was time to emotionally get in step with my vulvar cancer treatment. It made a huge difference. I had vulvar cancer. I was having vulvar cancer treatment. It sucked.
I also got a digestive tract infection during treatment, which complicated everything. My colon will never be the same. But that's part of the journey.
Fight the cancer, not your treatment. Make peace with it and it can save your sanity and stress level. Save all that fight for the recovery.
I am now one-year cancer-free and am grateful that I endured through the treatment. Every day is a blessing, and I am so grateful to be here to fight another day!