Thank You for the Humble Pie

Celeste GonzalezI don’t know if I have said it enough, I don’t think I have, but I am so grateful for the love and support I have received. I lie awake at 3am—like right now—and think back on the incredible kindness of people. I’m not eating a slice of humble pie, I’m eating the whole thing.

Admittedly, I never really saw myself as a very well liked individual. I’m a self-professed awkward person and a surprisingly very private person. While I am very public about what I think, very little know how I feel.

Cancer was a shitty hand to be dealt to me when I have gone through a lot of emotional turmoil in my 31 years. I didn’t know how to initially handle the shock of cancer, or who to tell, or how to explain it. So I did the only thing I knew how to really do, I wrote.

Within days, people were already doing fundraisers for me and taking the time to help me when I have been distant or emotionally unavailable to my own friends. I felt like an asshole because I cannot say I have loved the people around me enough to support them the way I have been supported. My comadre, Mariza, said to me, “We have always been there for you, you just need to open your heart and accept the help people offer.”

So I say this with an open heart:

I cannot thank each and every single one of you enough for supporting me. For those of you who have never met me and still donated to my cause, I thank you. I wish I can hug you for having reached out to a stranger.

For all those who haven’t spoken to me in years, but have reached out, thank you. I never knew you had such fond memories of me.

For all those who have said they would be there for me and never showed up, I’m disappointed and not surprised.

For people like Alma, how am I ever going to put into words how grateful I am to have someone like you constantly trying to make sure I’m being supported in any way?

Laura, it was because you sent someone to my house to give me a massage that I was able to relax and dream again.

Sometimes, you do get great bosses that will treat you with respect and love. This means you, Amy and Naomi.

Marvin, I never knew that the same boy I met at an East LA gig would be the same person I would be having a drink with and laughing with his wife in an effort to forget about the cancer for a bit.

I can go on…

There are so many people I wish I could thank personally. The support has been overwhelming to the point where I can’t keep up anymore.

For each one of you that has loved, helped, or supported me since cancer, you are the reason there is a lot of good in life.

The Plateau Effect of Breast Cancer

Celeste GonzalezThere’s a lot I want to write about, but I’m too tired nowadays. The last month has been harder and I find my body feeling—and looking—wrecked.

It isn’t bouncing back from the chemo as fast anymore, my bones ache so bad, I’ve gained 15 pounds, and I think I have a cold now. I think I may have pushed my body to its limits. Every time I lie in bed, I take a deep breath and I can hear each bone in my spine crack in relief from the daily stress of being sick.

I don’t really have the energy to write about the things that I have been inspired to write about—the side effects of Taxol make it harder. My hands get numb or they begin to feel too heavy, making it tiring to write or type. It angers me.

I am reaching a new level of exhaustion. I’m so uncomfortable in my skin now and I hate how it’s another part of life that I can’t control at the moment—fuck you steroids! Right now, being inside my skin feels like I’m wearing a dress that’s three sizes too small. If I could unzip myself and step out of my own skin, I would feel instant relief. My under eyes are the perfect shade of domestic violet, my teeth itch and if I sit still long enough, I can feel my feet sinking into the ground.

I haven’t written because I needed a break from everything that is related to my diagnosis, even the emotional highs and lows. I want to feel anything other than how I feel when I’m inside my head for too long. I want to feel something that doesn’t stem from having cancer.