Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cancer Will Define My Life Forever

I never thought I would define myself by my disease/disability, but at this point I’m feeling like cancer will forever define my life.  I do not define myself by my wheelchair use or traumatic brain injury or other disabilities.  I am a wife, mother, piano teacher, Christian, friend, daughter, writer, etc. who happens to use a wheelchair and have a traumatic brain injury.  Now, I get to add, who happens to have cancer.  At this moment, I am a cancer patient.  Someday I will be a cancer survivor.  But, my life will forever be defined by cancer. 

I was struck by that as I attended my eye appointment this week.  I had to mark “cancer” on my health sheet and my daughter had to mark it on her family history.  I’ve done this at my other appointments this week, but those were appointments related to my cancer.  This was my eye doctor and I realized at that moment that I will always be defined as a cancer patient and my children now have to acknowledge my cancer every time they fill out health forms. 

I was hoping getting a plan of action in place would help my frame of mind.  I was wrong.  I want nothing more than to forget for at least a few minutes that I have an alien invader inside my body.  That has not happened, nor do I see it happening any time soon.   I’ve been asked several times over the past few days how I feel.  How do I feel?  How should I feel?  I don’t feel like I have cancer.  Physically, I feel no different today than I did a month ago before all this began.  I have no pain.  I have no fever.  I have no indication that there is an invader living inside my body.  Surprisingly, my blood pressure has even remained at or below normal even during all the doctor appointments I’ve had this week. 

Physically, I guess the answer is, “I feel fine.”  Emotionally is another story all together.  I feel like I have an invader living inside my body and I don’t even really know they’re there.  But, I will never again feel completely free from this invader.  Even when they cut it out and do whatever follow up treatments come, I will constantly be wondering if it is really gone or just doing a great job of hiding out and waiting until it’s bigger to show itself.  The rest of my life will be defined by cancer.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or talk to me about my cancer.  I may not want to think about it, but I always am.  Nothing you say will remind me that I have cancer.  That thought is constantly in my mind.  And, it is not going away.  I will not “get well soon.”  This is a lifelong battle.  Hopefully, there will come a day I will be declared cancer free, but it will not be soon.  And, it will never mean I can relax and let my guard down.   

So, I guess the moral of the story is I will have rough days emotionally for the rest of my life.  Like it or not, once cancer enters your life, you are forever defined by cancer.  And, in case you didn’t know.  CANCER SUCKS!

Thankful thoughts for today:
Rain free track practice
Talking to someone who's "been there"
Glasses ready in one hour
Wonder Woman socks
Raised garden planted

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  1. I am so glad you are sharing your thankful thoughts. It is my reminder to be mindfully thankful for those things in my life. And this season, we have some parallel thankful thoughts!


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