July 22, 2010


i really do want to blog more...i say that a lot. but, somehow, i always end up here...about a month from my last blog post. and, really, i don't have a whole lot to report...which is a good thing. it means life has returned to a little bit of normalcy.

but, just a little bit. i still think about cancer every day, have moments of serious anxiety, and worry about the 'what if'. it's going to be a long process to recovery, if there is such an end destination. i'm slowly learning to re-direct myself to something productive when i feel anxiety coming on. i've created epic 'to-do lists' just to keep myself busy when i need to be busy, and have learned to lean a little bit on others for support. i'm definitely making progress, and i definitely have a long, long ways to go.

i think a lot of this recovery process, and becoming a survivor, is about acceptance. we do a lot of denial in our lives...from the initial denial that 'cancer won't happen to me' to the whole process of denying that this cancer could kill me, that i could have serious long term health issues from treatment, and my biggest denial...that cancer won't effect me negatively at some point.

now that i've started my journey as a survivor, i'm beginning to accept things as they are. i had cancer, i will live with uncertainty for the rest of my life, i had some pretty hardcore treatment, and i have some pretty serious emotional scars. i'm also learning to accept that it's not what has happened to you, or will happen to you, but how you handle it. we can't change the hand we're dealt, but we can control how we play it. it's about taking ownership of the things we do well, and the things that we struggle with. it's about facing our difficulties, looking them right in the eye and developing ways to overcome them...or at least to live civilly with them. it's about taking steps forward, despite fears telling us to stand still. and, it's about accepting that who we are now is different than we've ever been before...and embracing the new person we have become.

my biggest struggle has been planning for the future. i've realized that for the past year, i've been at a stand still. i wasn't planning for anything except how i'd get through each two week increment between treatments, or to the next appointment, scan, test, etc. i really didn't think beyond the end of treatment...it was as if surviving cancer was the only thing i was living for. but, that's what i needed to do...i needed every ounce of my emotional and mental focus to be on getting through. so, i reached that goal...i finished treatment. now, i push forward. but, there's a lingering 'what if' that nags at me every single day. as i plan to start my masters, every single step i take is tainted by a little worry...i purchased my first text book earlier this week and before i hit 'submit payment' i thought, shouldn't i wait until i have a clean scan? before i gave my notice at work, i wondered...what if my scan isn't clean? these thoughts don't stop me from pushing forward, but they create a significant pause. being a survivor means i'll have to deal with this forever...it will become less noticeable over time, but it will always be there. my challenge now is to hear the nagging, and make a concious choice to push forward despite any fear. as i said at the start of all of this...as soon as you stop living, cancer wins. i won't let that happen.

the textbook arrived yesterday. i threw out the receipt. i'm pushing forward.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT post. I felt like giving you a standing ovation as I read it. Especially in the paragraph "Now that I've started my journey..." And also that you threw away the receipt.

    I think this is the case for a lot of situations in life though. How much better would we all be if we never let fear hold us back? If we all just took the plunge and didn't let ourselves stand still because it's more comfortable to do so. But I bet that feeling is especially magnified with cancer survivors.