It’s curious to some people that I share so much on social media, so I’m sure it’s even more curious that I would tell you that I’m an introvert. I really hate attention. I hate being in a room full of people. A happy hour or cocktail reception is an Introverts hell. I’ve been told I’m anti social. But I’m not. I like talking to people. I just don’t enjoy certain situations. I hate making small talk. I so wish I could charm a crowd. Be the belle of the ball. I just can’t do it. I want to. I will work out how long I have to be somewhere before I can leave and how I can fill that time before I can leave. 3 minutes to go to the bathroom. 6 minutes pretending I have a call to make or an email to send. A minute getting a drink and 2 minutes deciding what to drink to really stretch it out. I take refuge in the fact that I’m not alone in this feeling and I also have great friends who will help me work in to a conversation so I don’t feel quite so awkward.
With that in mind it really surprises people that I would share my life to hundreds and thousands of friends and strangers on social media.
Last week it was confirmed that I have/had an aggressive form of thyroid cancer that had in fact spread to my lymph nodes. 8 to be exact. All of which were removed. Thanks to a great skilled surgeon.
When the doctor told me the results I wasn’t surprised or shocked. I was resolute. Strategic. What do we do next? How do we do this quickly? How do we stop any further spread? I left with a plan that I was comfortable with. That I could understand.
I realised quickly that the results did not make me emotional. I can handle it. There’s a plan. I called Joel and my parents and gave them the facts. No emotion. I’m ok. Calm. Relaxed. Plan. Goals. Expected outcome. Steps. I like steps and plans.
That evening I had to go to a happy hour. People I haven’t seen since the surgery. Introvert kicks in on full power and I’m awkward walking in to a crowd. Questions like “hey how was your day?” A wholly innocent question. Questions with such a weight on an answer. There’s a socially expected answer and there’s the truth. A colleague approaches “Hey. How was your day?” In my head my answer I’m toying with saying is “I found out two hours ago I have an aggressive form of cancer and they aren’t totally sure if there’s any left inside of me so… I have to scan my body and take radioactive iodine. My day was a little tough”. I run through the potential reaction to that answer and I can’t handle the response. I can be calm. But not when faced with others. So my answer is “fine thanks, yours?” As I smile. A fake smile. Knowing it probably shows all over my face.
I share my life to hundreds and thousands of people because it’s easier to be an open book behind a screen than one on one, this is how an introvert (with a craving to write) handles cancer.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out the last week or so and of course my incredible family. I wouldn’t be where I am without you and without your love, care and consideration.
The scar has nearly healed but the journey isn’t over yet. This week brings me blood tests, scans, more results and more plans. Along with a full work schedule of presentations, decks and deadlines. Funny how the world still turns even when you feel like you have to stop, hold your loved ones and breathe. It all keeps turning. Whether you want it to or not.
Ask me how I am. I will tell you I’m ok. Ask me how I’m feeling. I will write you a blog.