It’s been eight years since the sh*t hit the fan. Eight years! So far, so good. Still here. Still NED. I am lucky in oh-so-many ways, and I know it. However, I am also not one to gloss over cancer crap, aka, cancer fallout. As you know by now, right? And sometimes the reality of it all still hits me like a ton of bricks.
What about you?
In this post, I decided to share 15 realities I live with at eight years post diagnosis. There are many more, but I don’t want to bore you to death, and some will forever remain private. My list is totally random. And I made it late in the day, which probably wasn’t a good idea. Oh well.
And one more thing, believe me, I fully realize my friends with metastatic disease wouldn’t mind dealing with my realities, some of them anyway, if they could get rid of that one gigantic, ultimate looming reality they face.
Still, this doesn’t mean I cannot speak about my realities. You are entitled to speak about yours, too, if you want to.
The sh*t storm that is breast cancer is not a contest. So…
Read my list and then share a few of your realities, if you want to. And I hope you do.
1. I’m here (yay!), but gosh, there is collateral damage and plenty of it.
I will spare you the collateral damage details in this post because this post is not about details. Let’s just say, it’s hard to come up with one area of my life not impacted by cancer crap fallout. And yes, I am grateful too. See #9.
2. Cancer is now part of my family’s medical history.
I mean, it’s part of it BIG time due to the whole BRCA+ deal. And this really sucks. For my entire family. Probably for generations to come.
3. Short-term life insurance is not achievable post diagnosis, well, not for me anyway.
Dear Hubby recently attempted to acquire a modest coverage policy for each of us. It was supposed to be a package deal, no questions asked, easy to get, we cover anybody sort of offer. Umm…turns out, not so. We sorta knew that would happen, I suppose. Oh well. Screw them. And health insurance, don’t get me started on that one.
4. Scars – the “silent loudspeakers”
Nothing says reality like scars. And all those memes and slogans about scars representing how strong you were to overcome whatever caused you to have them, not a fan. As far as I’m concerned, not enough attention is given to the emotional scars of breast cancer. Emotional scars of any sort, for that matter.
5. Nipple envy
Yeah, I have that. Big time. And hair envy. Ditto.
6. Many people, maybe even most, insist you should learn life lessons from cancer.
Why this is I do not know. Feels like one more way to frame cancer as a f***ing gift. It is NOT! Oh, and while you’re learning all those lessons, you are, of course, supposed to be smiling through it all. Because above all else, you must remain positive. Gag me.
7. Pretty much no one asks me about cancer anymore or even how I’m doing these days. Which is fine, btw.
I mention this because I think it means everyone assumes all that stuff is behind me now. Which really means forgotten. If only.
8. Sometimes I still do not recognize the person in the mirror looking back at me.
Yeah, so that forgetting part just isn’t possible anyway.
9. I am lucky in so many ways.
Supportive family. Wonderful spouse. Still NED. Still working. Wonderfully supportive online community. Loyal readers like YOU. Still on my own power, as Dear Hubby likes to remind me. I am grateful. Very grateful. But this does not mean I must keep quiet about the stuff I do not feel so lucky about. Neither do you.
10. Career change – without my consent
These days when asked what I do, I call myself a professional blogger (what do you think, how does that sound?), author, freelance writer and now land owner, but first and foremost, I still think of myself as an educator. I probably always will.
11. Oh, and reality check, when someone asks me what I write about, let the fidgeting begin. Generally, people do not know how to react.
The subject cannot get changed fast enough for most. I kid you not. I mean, cancer and grief…heavvvy…I get it. But still. Why is it in 2018, the topics of cancer and grief still make people so uncomfortable to talk about? Unless, of course, you’re talking about those great life lessons you’ve learned from either. People seem to love that shit.
12. It’s now been eight years since I stood in front of a classroom and this makes me kinda sad.
Okay, not every day, but some days it still does.
13. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing a very good job with this whole survivorship thing.
See #6. Heck, see all the above.
14. Those little white pills cause me and many of you, my Dear Readers, considerable angst.
Damned if we do. Damned if we don’t, right?
15. I’m still here.
Circling back to #1 and what matters most. I’m still here. Many are not so fortunate; there are so many losses. I think about that every single day – the biggest reality of all.
I guess these fifteen realities will do for now.
Now I really want YOU to share some of your realities. (Otherwise I’m gonna look bad.)
Ready, set, go…
What are a couple of your realities – good or bad?
If you’re a caregiver, or ever have been, let’s hear yours too.
What is your most challenging reality today, right now, this minute?
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