We decided to watch the movie 50/50 (the one with Seth Rogen about a friend having cancer). I've hesitated to see this movie. Since I've had my own cancer experience, I didn't know if I really felt like I could watch it.
However, it fit in the day perfectly and let me share my emotions with the one I love the most. Let me explain the connections:
1. In the same year I finished my cancer treatments of ABVD Chemotherapy and radiation, I ran a half-marathon. Yesterday, we ran 6.5 miles - my longest run since the race, and we went running only a few miles from the marathon track in Tucson (at the time of the 1/2, I lived in Phoenix).
2. I finished my cancer treatments this week in March, 2 years ago.
3. All of my chemotherapy treatments were in Tucson, we watched the movie in our new home in the Tucson area.
4. I watched it with my Dashing - who was there for me every step of the way.
Watching the movie exposed so many feelings I hadn't addressed in a while. They rushed through my body like a dam breaking to release all of the tightly held rapids into the canal below.
Now, the story of 50/50 was not like my experience. My doctors were personable, concerned, supportive, kind, understanding. My family and friends were pillars of hope and strength, who surrounded me with love. In this movie, I felt like the patient was emotionally (and sometimes physically) alone. Dashing asked me during the movie, "You must have felt alone since you were the only one going through it, even with all of us around." I actually didn't. Although I had many moments of feeling like maybe not everyone really could understand, I can firmly say I never, ever felt alone. How lucky I was and am. Dashing then clasped his hand with mine and held me close for the rest of the night.
There was one clip in the movie that resonated so much with me though. It was near the end of the patient's chemotherapy treatments and he, after so many months of being stone cold, he broke down with tears, screams, and thrashing movements. I had this moment, and both the movie patient and I said "I'm so tired of being sick," while endless streams of tears ran down our faces with feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, and exhaustion.
So what moments in the movie stayed with me? (The moments that had me redirecting tears from my face to my sweatshirt sleeve).
- You sometimes feel like it will never end
- You stand in the bathroom contemplating how much to cut your hair, before and while it's falling out
- You don't really want to believe it could be the end of your life, and although it demonstrates positivity on the outside, on the inside it's refusing to figure our how you really feel ignoring mortality, sadness, or hurt. I did this too.
- You get tired of being sick
- You feel like you're a burden
- You question who is truly there to support you
- You can shut people out easily because you're shutting down on the inside
So as parting words for the masses, I say this.... It is more than just ok to feel sad or hurt sometimes. Let yourself feel how you really feel. Come to terms with the fact that life is not always happy. You don't have to be "Suzy Sunshine." Sometimes things are hard, disappointing, tragic, and upsetting. Share those feelings just like you share the happy, elated, joyful ones. In that, you'll find the meaning of your life.