What My Grapefruit-Sized Tumor Taught Me
Yep, you read that right. Grapefruit sized tumor.
1. a swelling of a part of the body, generally without inflammation, caused by an abnormal growth of tissue, whether benign or malignant.
25 days into 2018 and I've had to be a new shade of brave, the kind that has the guts to open your eyes when you're scared. I've looked myself in the mirror and shook hands with fear; with the unexpected.
I was diagnosed with a tumor on December 19th, 2017. Although, I knew, deep down, that I had something wrong well before that. It's easy to overlook toxicity when it's so slow growing, and that's what this was; a slow growing monster that manipulated me into overlooking the changes until it was the size of my fist. It made it hard to acknowledge the problem that was growing right in front (or in back) of me.
It took me a while, but I realized that everyone has a tumor.
It may not be a mass of cells or tissue, but we all have one; a toxicity that's eating at you, that's taking over your head space, like mine was taking over the space in my back, that you've neglected to acknowledge and remove. It could be a toxic friendship, relationship, work place, stress, comparison, jealousy, body image, or substance abuse. A tumor.
The diagnosis is difficult. You're fighting yourself. In my case, my flesh and blood. In your case, your mental space. Once acknowledged, I was scared. Anxiety induced. Unfamiliar. I also felt guilty, like I should've known. It shouldn't have gotten this big. This bad. That's how it happens though. Like with any toxicity in your life, it's easy to overlook. To neglect. To turn your cheek. To believe this is normal. It's just a bump. Similarly, A little resentment won't hurt anyone, right? That's how it starts. And then it grows. It presses on nerves. It starts to take over. Toxicity is a sneaky little devil. But truthfully, oftentimes it's because we don't want to look.
We need a diagnosis; the acknowledgement of a problem and a game plan to resolve it. And babe, it's up to you to give it to yourself.
Removing your tumor is going to hurt. Physical and mental pain hold hands quite tightly. It's painful to remove someone or something that was once close to you, or a part of you, regardless of if the relationship or situation is not in your best interest. It's painful to acknowledge that you may have something to work on, like perhaps a little self love, when feeling hate or jealousy of someone else. It's painful, it hurts. I understand, really I do. But it's worth it. You don't see Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy slowly weening the tumor out of the body. Nope. Grab that metaphorical scalpel and remove that toxic tumor in full.
Anxiety induced, I channeled all of my negative energy, all of that toxicity, into my tumor. I stopped giving it power, and made it an outlet. I turned anxiety and uncertainty into an exciting view of the future; one full of health and a better understanding. Once I learned not to fear the tumor, but accept it and release it, my mentality changed. Yours can too.
Recovery doesn't happen overnight, unfortunately. It takes time to heal. Change. Adapt. I currently have a three inch slice in my back muscles, and honestly, your mental recovery might feel like this too. It hurts to move. Hell, it hurts to breathe. It's a process. A process I'm still getting acquainted with. With biopsy results pending, tissue healing, I am recovering. You will too.
26 days into 2018 and it feels a lot like learning a secret handshake, like following a treasure map without any real clues to go off of. But it also feels like we're onto something. Like we're all sitting at different tables, but we're in the same coffee shop, together. All of us prepared to remove our own tumors. I think that's hope. Yeah, 2018 feels like hope.
*click right to see the healing process