On June 9th, 2015, my brother was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
I remember the doctor coming into the room to give us the confirmation and to tell my brother he needs to "get his affairs in order." It didn't really hit me at the time of what a diagnosis like this meant but I knew it was bad. At one point during recovery, we had probably 10 people in the room and a waiting room full as well. My sister thanked the nurse for breaking the rules for us since there was a 2 visitor max rule. The nurse responded, "Don't worry about it, when you hear Glioblastoma, we will let you do whatever you want." Again, I heard those words come from her mouth and it still didn't hit me. Two days later, its time for me to return back to work. By now, I've had plenty of time to read and research that my brother was in the fight of his life. I had a two-hour drive back to my home and that is when it hit me. I broke down crying and could barely see through the tears to drive. That was the first of many hard days ahead.
For a long time, his diagnosis consumed every waking moment for me. I was constantly reading and researching the do's and don't s of brain cancer. Literally falling asleep at 11, waking up between 3 and 4, and staying up reading until 7. Not mention I still had to be at work by 9. It was a terrible cycle, but I did lose 10 lbs. To be clear, I'm not really complaining about that. My stress level was at a 10 for sure. At some point, I forgot to take care of me.
I know this story may be familiar to some of you. We all have life moments where we let go of ourselves and put others needs before our own. This is why we have to be reminded how important self-care is. My friends and I often joke about using our mental health days. We shouldn't feel bad to tell someone no or just say, "I need a day." When was the last time you did something for you? Last week I went to get a foot massage and it was amazing! I immediately made it up in my mind that I needed more of those moments this year. So with all that you do, take care of yourself so you can be a better version of you. If you can't do that for yourself, have someone in your corner that will. Make sure you check on your "strong" friend as well and remind them of self-care first.
My brother continues to fight this ugly monster and my heart goes out to other families affected by all cancers. He passed away May 24th, 2019.