It might be time to touch on a topic most people don't want to discuss: suicide. If this topic is going to bother you, best exit post haste.
When you're diagnosed with cancer or any other potentially terminal illness, your whole world does a 180 and everything you thought you knew about yourself and your life is challenged from every possible angle. It is extremely stressful and heartbreaking, even on the 'good' days. Even when you're laughing and making jokes at your own expense. There's a lot of anguish and pain underneath.
It's been a little more than a year since I found my lump and almost a year to my diagnosis and I still struggle with the horror of it all on a daily basis, even though my life was never really in (that much) danger. I still cry on a regular basis. I'm still going through the grieving process in various ways and struggling to feel somewhat like myself again. I'm still struggling to accept what I've been through and that I'll never be the same again. I'm probably clinically depressed and suffering from PTSD. That's all just part of it.
I think suicidal thoughts are also pretty common, even if you're going to live. I went through about a month-long period during chemo when that was all I thought about all day. I just wanted it all to end because it was pretty damn painful both physically and emotionally and all I could think to do to end it was, well, to end it. It's especially hard if you're an atheist. You don't have anyone to point the finger at and nothing to look forward to afterwards. No one to 'forgive' you when you're an asshole and no one to 'forgive' for this thing happening to you. You can't find a reason for it all, because there isn't one, and suddenly everything feels very, very meaningless and pointless. Even the things and the people you enjoy. It's a daily struggle just to be alive.
While that's a tragedy in its own right, the bigger tragedy to me is that we all don't realize what a difference we make in each others' lives every day until we're faced with our own mortality. If I wasn't made aware on a pretty regular basis that there are people in the world who love me and whose lives I matter in, I think one day the voices that tell me otherwise would win out. Yes, even after all I've been through and even after I've 'made it'.
So if you're reading this, thank you. You've had a hand in keeping one person (somewhat) sane and alive today. Tell the people you love that you love them and that they matter to you right now. They need to hear it more than you know.