Friday, January 22, 2010

My role as a cancer patient

Last year I attended a time management course where they asked you to think about the different roles you play in your own life and the priorities for each (example: employee, volunteer, mom, wife, etc...).  On my list of 4-5 main roles, I included "Cancer Patient".  One of my coworkers at the course told me that really struck her at the time.  Sadly enough, since then, she has also added this role to her list, though she is going through everything beautifully and has a fantastic prognosis (Yay!). 

It is sometimes hard to explain that though I finished my treatment over a year ago, this is still part of my daily thought process.  As other people I know who have cancer get good news, I celebrate with them and reflect on their news in private.  When someone gets the news of a recurrence, I wonder if I will be in their shoes one day.  As someone gets a diagnosis, I am happy I can be a resource to them and help in any way I can.  This is a happy energy I really feed off of.  It is a positive outcome of what I've gone though, a way I feel I can be of some service to the world.  It's also the way I feel about this blog. 

I look at science headlines that include the word "cancer".  If I read a brief line in the news that says "died of cancer at the age of..." and if it's a younger age, I hear that line again very loudly in my head.  I think about it all, then wonder if I think about it too much.  Other days, I wonder why I don't think about it more and haven't let my rendez-vous with cancer direct more changes in how I live my life. As doctor appointments come and go (less frequently now, luckily), I get nervous in the weeks leading up to them, then relax afterward. 

So, for any of you who know cancer survivors, I just wanted to say that though they are through treatment, it is never over.  Feel free to ask them how they are doing, how they are feeling.  My friends do, usually with a subtle question of "How have you been feeling?", and it's a great, quick check-in that shows me that they know this will always be a role in my life.