April 29th marks 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 have 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”.
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. I’m not sure exactly what.
One thing is for sure, 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?