Stephanie Gilman is, in my eyes, the epitome of bravery. The 28-year-old Torontonian has cancer and writes about her experiences on her blog, Pass Me Another Cupcake. Each entry is thoughtful, poignant, and incredibly genuine. What makes Gilman’s blog so powerful is how honest it is; she gives the most real and insightful look at what it’s like to be young and have cancer that I’ve ever come across. Gilman has kindly let us republish one of her blog posts, “An Update,” from March 30, 2013. It’s simple and honest, at times funny and at other times heartbreaking—it exposes her day-to-day life, from the mundane to the life-changing, and we are proud to repost it here. Gilman was diagnosed with cancer in September, 2012 and started her blog in December.
Update on Steph for those who truly want to know the mundane details of my life right now. For those who prefer the happy dancing cool cancer chick moments, feel free to skip this one for now and I hope to provide some more of that soon enough.
- I’ve been ignoring most emails and phone calls. It’s nothing personal. I have very little energy and it’s been another rough week, probably the worst yet, and I’m finding it hard to talk to anyone right now. But as always, I appreciate the love so much and really really hope to have at least one or two friends after all of this.
- I have styes on my eyes. I’m sure Dr. Seuss would be able to make that into some sort of interesting storybook, but in reality, it’s not very exciting. Itchy. Red. Styes.
- My skin has turned grey. Not pale, but grey. I used to think being pale was kind of lame, but now grey takes the prize.
- I took a walk today. Spring has sprung. I’m still wearing a black hood with big sunglasses because I can’t really bear for anyone to see my face right now. I seem to get stares wherever I go. Sometimes I just want to shout at strangers on the street, I have cancer, it’s not contagious, get over it. I have come to realize how oblivious we all are to other people’s suffering. How we just walk by, stare, and ignore. I’m sure I have done it a hundred times. Now when I see someone who I think has cancer, I just want to hug them and cry and ask them to come to my home and build a fort with me and hide in it.
- I haven’t had a good sleep in a long time. Between my nightmares, body aches, hot flashes, and the raccoons that seem to enjoy scratching under the window, I can’t seem to make it through the night.
- I have collapsed into a puddle of tears on several occasions the past week. I’m not sure where it is all coming from, most likely exhaustion and the fact that I am almost completely cut off from the outside world and am in some form of pain most minutes of my day. In a moment of sobbing hysteria, I asked my husband if he could cover all the mirrors so I wouldn’t have to see myself anymore. It made me think of all the shiva houses I had been to when I was younger and how I would stare at the foggy mirrors. But I have no idea what people spray to fog the mirrors and am also far too vain to stop looking at myself, so my mirrors remain as they were.
- I watched The Princess Bride last night and it was the first thing in awhile that made me laugh, so thanks to Rob Reiner and all who were involved if you ever read my blog.
- I ate some beets today. Straight out of the jar. It’s a crazy, crazy life.
Things I’m grateful for today:
The comments people leave on this blog
The few eyebrow hairs I have left
My friend Rebecca who always says, “That is so so shitty,” whenever I describe the gross and weird things happening to me, instead of, “It’s ok, you can do it!”
My friend Lily who buys way too many things for me
My good friends who check in on me constantly and stick around through the dark days
My husband who lets me soak through all his shirts with my tears and who tells me I’m pretty when I have styes on my eyes
My mother-in-law who sends me photos of rainbows
My parents who do everything
My siblings who are the only friends I see anymore
Everyone who sends me cards and nice things in the mail
The fact that I’m still here