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Six Years Since My Cancer Diagnosis & I’m Still Waiting…

It’s been six years since my cancer diagnosis and I’m still waiting…

It’s been six years since I heard the words, you have “a” cancer. SIX YEARS! Wow. So much has changed and yet so much has not. I am the same person and yet I am not. Another year has passed and again I wonder, where is my epiphany?

When will I learn the great life lessons cancer is supposed to teach me?

I’ve read so many articles over the past six years written by people (some even stage IV) who share how they’ve changed, learned things and/or grown into better people. Many proclaim to not sweat the small stuff anymore. Some make bucket lists, change their life goals, stop putting stuff off, or whatever. Still others say they appreciate life more, no longer take friends and family for granted and so on and so on.

I just don’t get it.

What am I missing?

Sometimes, I feel envious when I read such articles. Sometimes, I wish I could be more like those people. Sometimes, I just want cancer to make some sort of sense. I want there to be a reason. But I know it doesn’t work that way, not for me anyway. There is no sense to be made from cancer and it has certainly been no gift for me and my family. Cancer sucks. Period.

I do not believe everything happens for a reason either.

And yet, some people seem to be able to find something of value in their cancer shitstorm.

Why can’t I?

Sure I’ve met some wonderful people, but other than that…

I am still waiting. I am still waiting to become more of something, or better in some way, but what and how?

Why am I such a slow learner?

Or perhaps I am a stubborn, uncooperative, or just not willing to let the lessons seep in sort of “cancer student”.

But why?

Throughout my life I’ve lived up (more or less) to the good girl standard, whatever the heck that means. I was never one to seriously misbehave, cause too much trouble, make waves, show up late, not finish stuff on time, talk back, or even cuss or swear.

And then came cancer.

Cancer unleashed something in me – and I don’t mean rogue cancer cells. Exactly what, I’m not sure.

One thing is for sure though, I am not a better person today than I was six years ago because of cancer.

Do I hope I am a better person than I was back then? Of course. I hope I’m a better person today than I was yesterday. I try to be a better person every day. Well, most days. Cancer doesn’t transform you into a better, or worse, person. Besides it’s not the cancer that does the work of transforming anyway, it’s the person, so why should cancer get credit for any of it?

Perhaps what cancer does do sometimes is to create a sort of identity crisis.

I often still feel like such a cancer misfit. Even now, I have not found my way back.

But you can’t go back. So this means I never will; realizing this is scary. But then, the unknown usually is.

And cancer is all about unknowns.

I’m still trying to put the pieces back together, to move forward, to figure out who I am now and what I’m supposed to do from here on out.

And I am still waiting…

What about you?

Do you feel cancer creates a sort of identity crisis?

Do you sometimes feel like a cancer misfit?

Do you think cancer has made you a better person?

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Still waiting for answers...

Kathi

Saturday 14th of May 2016

You know, when I was 19, having an identity crisis was sort of exciting. Now? Not so much. Mostly, since about age 35, I've been trying to ditch the drama. Nothing like cancer to dump a shitload of unwanted drama in your life. xoxo

Nancy

Monday 16th of May 2016

Kathi, Cancer most definitely delivers a shitload of unwanted drama and the "deliveries" seem to just keep coming and coming. Thank you for reading and sharing. xo

Tina Pirlot

Saturday 14th of May 2016

Nancy, I struggle every day with who I am after cancer. I want to be positive and hopeful for other pink sisters...it's needed when you're in the thick of it. But I also want to scream and rage at all I've lost. I dealt with many other health issues prior to triple negative bc, and chemo has somehow accelerated the deterioration of my inflammatory arthritis. And my teeth have crumbled out of my mouth...making the simple acts of chewing and smiling extinct. I'm all over the map; one day grateful for opportunities to try to make a difference, and another curled up in the fetal position from fear and physical fallout of chemo. Relationships I've gained are precious. The one thing I'm sure was a fortune side effect. Losses of pink sisters is an incredible pain however. I want to strangle and murder an entity I can't see or touch for the cruel pain it causes. I wait also for the epiphany. Still waiting...

Nancy

Monday 16th of May 2016

Tina, I understand that struggle. I have finally learned to give myself permission to feel gratitude and grief simultaneously. We are allowed to feel joy and anger or any other emotions we might be having. Sharing about our ugly reality does not mean we are being bitter or negative. I don't think there must be great lessons garnered from cancer either. Seems like just another way to try to re-frame cancer as a gift - and that logic will never work for me. Thank you for reading and sharing.

Kelli Ann

Saturday 30th of April 2016

I'm new into this unwelcome war. Just heading into my 3rd, "red devil" mixture. Just said goodbye to my beloved hair. I'm under 50 and keep hearing how, "Young I am..." and that is in my favor. I find myself realizing that life as I knew it will never be that way again. Now I face months of treatments, breast (s) removals and overall uncertainties! I find myself wondering what there is to celebrate the 5...10...15 year marks? Is my life now just waiting for yearly check ups to let me know I've been granted another year of life? Do I assume that because I HAVE/HAD breast cancer that I will not live to a ripe old age that I would have (maybe) had I not been stricken with cancer? So many questions....

Nancy

Monday 2nd of May 2016

Kelli, There are a lot of questions and uncertainties, that's for sure. One day at a time, so cliche I know, but true nonetheless. Wishing you all the best. Thank you for sharing.

Cancer Curmudgeon

Friday 29th of April 2016

I keep saying I'll write about all the UNacceptable lessons I got from cancer. As much as I like to kick things around, ponder, write about, discuss via social media--I'm getting less inclined on this topic. Perhaps the title and entire text of my cancer lessons post should be: Cancer brought out the worst in me and I'm fine with that! I had no epiphanies, only reinforcement of ideas and behaviors I already had. As bad as I felt about that earlier, I don't anymore--and wish to revel in it!

Nancy

Monday 2nd of May 2016

CC, I have toyed with the idea of writing a post about the 10 shittiest things cancer has taught me, but alas, I haven't yet. Still might. I doubt very much that I'll be experiencing any great epiphanies either. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Sandy

Friday 29th of April 2016

Wow.. this is so well said. While I have learned life is short and appreciate each day, I am still waiting for more.. Cancer took a hell of a lot more from me than "it" gave me,. perfect term.. cancer misfit. I am 4 years out and have not been able to accept the "new normal" Thanks so much for this!

Nancy

Monday 2nd of May 2016

Sandy, Thank YOU for reading and sharing some thoughts. I knew life was short before cancer and appreciated each day. Didn't need cancer as a wake up call for that either. You're so right about cancer being very greedy and taking so much. And yes, the new normal, don't get me started...

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