August 27, 2009

it's like winning some kind of strange, mixed up lottery

i'm not typically one of those people who gets lucky, you know, like those people who always seem to win raffles...every time they enter something they win, even when the odds are terrible. it seems, though, that while one odd might be against me, another one is certainly in my favor. the chance of getting cancer in the US is about 1 in 5...some odds those are - better chances of getting cancer than winning the lottery. so, that is the odd that has worked against me, which is not good enough to show my luck yet. here goes...of the 20% of the population who will get cancer, only 5% will get some kind of lymphoma (arguably, one of the most treatable cancers)...and still, less than 1% of all cancers will be Hodgkin's lymphoma - before joining the cancer club, my chances of having Hodgkin's lymphoma were about .2% (which are the same as everyone's chances) - and that's why i'm very lucky.

the 'why me' mantra doesn't fit me...i don't feel like a victim, or that something terrible has happened to me because the universe decided that it was time for me to experience sadness. nope. not me. look at the odds...sort of likely i'd get cancer (done), a little less likely that i'd get lymphoma (done, done), and far less likely that i'd get Hodgkin's lymphoma (check)...the most treatable kind of lymphoma, and what they're calling a 'true success story in cancer'. of course no one wishes for cancer, but it happens, just like anything else...and here i am.

everyone keeps telling me that it's OK to feel sad, angry, scared, etc. i keep waiting to feel those things, and i hope i continue waiting. feeling sorry for myself isn't something i'm willing to do. i won't ever say i'm not a little scared...i have cancer, there's a chance that i won't respond well during treatment, i'll have to be mindful of it for the rest of my life, and people die every day from cancer. yes, it's a scary world. however, i knew from the first day that if i let it consume me, and let it take over, i had already lost the battle.

i don't like losing. perhaps that's why i feel so lucky to have won the 'good kind of cancer' lottery, because i finally won something i have no control over. bittersweet, and very, very real.

August 19, 2009

optimism in cancer? really?

really, optimism. i truly believe that there is positive in every single situation. i've believed that way for quite a while now, and my diagnosis of cancer simply means that i have to learn to see the positive in a very difficult time. they say that the hardest of times really challenge your beliefs...bring it on.

the first thing you should know is that this is genuine optimism. this is not my attempt at coping with my diagnosis by fabricating an essence of positivity that is unnatural to me. i can also promise that there will be times that i will lose sight of my optimism, i'm not perfect, and seeing the glass half full is a journey, not a destination. it's also a choice, and i choose to always see the opportunity, to see how i can grow, and how i can help other people do the same.

most importantly, this blog serves a couple purposes, or at least i intend for it to. first, it's a place for me to share my story, and to express my sincere optimism about my journey, and the challenges that i face in striving to maintain a positive attitude. second, it's a way for those i care about to be able to follow my experience without having to worry about their reactions to it...where there are no expectations for them to respond, and for them to know i want to share it with them, but don't expect anything in return. lastly, it's my hope that someone, somewhere, will benefit from reading this, and realize that there truly is optimism in everything, even cancer, you just have to be willing to see it.