Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
On October 28th, 2019, I got off from bed to prepare to go to the hospital for my recurring cancer, post-surgery results. It was around 3 am, I had not slept a wink, and it was precisely an hour fifteen minutes before the transport would show up outside my uni residence to pick me up. So I had to get ready despite having puffy eyes and a sleep-deprived body.
Throughout the trip to the hospital, everything went completely off-track. It was like I was moving in slow motion and watching my life pass me by—quite an uncomfortable feeling. Until 3 hours later, when I arrived at the hospital, the oncology department.
I had already convinced myself- what’s the point? Whether the results come back positive or negative, it will all come down to one thing. Hope. If the results came back positive for cancer, I would have to continue to hope that it’ll all go away one day. Or that at least I would live long enough to have a good-paying career and do great things for my mother. And if it came back negative, I would still hope that it doesn’t come back in a few months or years to come like it did the last two times.
The results came back NEGATIVE. Yay. Congratulations, you are finally in remission, my doctor enthusiastically told me. Should I cry? Jump? Celebrate? Ring a bell?… What now? I had so many questions, and confusion railed my mind like a busied peak-hour traffic.
In the end, I chose to do nothing. But to continue living my life as nothing had happened. I bottled it all up. I didn’t climb the mountain tops and shout with joy, “I beat cancer AGAIN.” I didn’t want to be the inspirational, brave and resilient young black woman I was a few years back. And I didn’t want to write another blog about how God saved me from the pits. Because what if it comes back AGAIN.
As I reflect on the past few years, I realise I have robbed myself of the vast and earnest beauty of the joy of the unknown. I have been focusing more on what if it comes back—and ignoring the possibility of what if it doesn’t. So as a gift for myself. Or rather let’s call it a new year’s resolution; I have decided to be a little bit easy on myself. To focus more on the positive and to give joy, happiness and the beauty that comes with uncertainty a room in my life. I have decided to accept change and allow myself to transition through every phase (good or bad) with grace. And finally, I have decided to carry hope around with me everywhere I go. Like a badge of honour willing me forward.