When I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and decided to announce that on Facebook, I also started using the hashtag “team badass.” One of the terrible things about my diagnosis was knowing that other people would worry about me. The knowledge of that broke my heart. I didn’t want people to worry about me, and I could only imagine their fear. My husband. My mom and my dad. My sister. My friends who had gone through cancer. My friends who had known Angi. I remembered how that felt, and so I reminded you all how tough I was by deciding on the moniker “team badass.”
And I also wanted to remind myself who I was. A year of treatment? Fine. I was going to put my head down and badass my way through it. Surgery. Chemo. Radiation. Two more surgeries? Extra biopsies and scans? Bring it on. I was going to keep working full time and being tough on opposing counsel and, you know what, I was going to train for a marathon too. And I did. And now all of the treatment and surgeries are over, and so I figured I’d go right back to being my normal badass self.
I mean, I had heard about “the new normal.” And I even understood at some level that physically I wouldn’t be 100% right away, and that mentally I might still be a little foggy.
But here’s what I didn’t understand: I’m emotionally raw. I’m aware of my vulnerability in a way I wasn’t before. For the past year, I’ve been given so much grace and so much love and at some level I’m afraid that all of that is going to be taken away. That people are tired of me and my “cancer journey.” That my co-workers are sick of me being out of the office or being too fatigued to stay late. That my friends and family are tired of doing things for me. And more, that my wanting those things — wanting love and grace and people to take care of me — means I’m not such a badass after all.
But you know, I didn’t use the hashtag “badass” on that first Facebook post, or on my subsequent posts about cancer. It’s always been “team badass.” I don’t know why I did that, but maybe there’s a lesson in it for me. Maybe it’s okay to need other people, to lean on my family, to allow my friends to support me, and even to ask opposing counsel for an extension of time when I need one. Maybe keeping my team around me is in fact the most badass choice of all. #teambadass