The Sucky Slump


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To put it bluntly, cancer sucks. What I mean by this is that it sucks the life out of you. It sucks out the fun, the energy, the willpower, the hair on your head, and the person you’ve gotten used to being for the past however many years old you are. It is the biggest bully you have and will ever have to face, and the only thing better than not having to face it at all is beating it.

So, how do you beat cancer? After all, it is a disease that requires treatment which is not guaranteed to solve the problem and no cure has been found…yet (that’s what science geniuses like my sister are for).

In order to beat cancer, you recognize that you are in a sucky situation. You understand that your life will not be the same ever again and that your disease does not care how you may be feeling that day- it won’t let up. After you have acknowledged all of this, you put on a smile and say, “This is MY life. This is MY disease. I am in control here.” You make the decision that, no matter what lies ahead, you are going to live the life you choose and work with what you’ve been given, be it good or bad.

What my mom and I did when she was having a rough day was we set a time frame to be upset, say 20 minutes. During that next 20 minutes we were allowed to feel sorry for ourselves and cry and be angry and fussy and complain all we wanted. After our time limit was up, it would be time to move on.

This 20 minutes is what I have recently come to call the “Sucky Slump.” It is a time frame in which we allow whatever is bothering us to suck out whatever it wants to. Then, we take control again and get over it. The key to the Sucky Slump is to realize that we were the ones to allow it to occur. Thus, we never lost control in the first place- we just thought we did.

One of the things I’ve learned from my mother’s cancer is that life throws odd challenges at you sometimes. Whether it be getting your first “B” on a report card, scoring against your own team in a soccer game, or being diagnosed with breast cancer, part of what makes being human so beautiful is that we are never incapable of overcoming these challenges.

Life will sometimes suck the good out of things. This is inevitable. To overcome this hardly rare occurrence, we acknowledge it and take control. If you find yourself in a Sucky Slump, give yourself a few minutes to feel the pangs of it and then decide to be done. Everyone needs a good “I feel sorry for myself” sometimes. When you’re done, smile and be happy again. This way, you never lose control, and you always win.