Hello from the other side


Hey party people! I’m still alive, if you were wondering. (Although if you ever are actually wondering, it only takes a few clicks to verify that I’m still kicking.) I keep meaning to update ye olde blog but have not succeeded as of late. And it’s not for a lack of having anything to say. In fact, I have had lots of things to say, and my mind has been churning constantly with thoughts and feelings and all that fun stuff that I really should put down in words. But it seems it gets harder to share my innermost thoughts the further I get away from the cancer stuff. When I was living it every day, it was easy to write about, and almost expected. Of course I was thinking about cancer while my hair was falling out and my body was throbbing. But now as the years have thankfully started to pass (#blessed) and I shed my Cancer Girl persona, it seems almost jarring to bring it back into the conversation. Cancer? Really? You still have stuff to say about that crap?

I have less to say, definitely, but I’m not done just yet. Although less frequent, I still am prone to panicking over every new pain/bump/anomaly that presents itself and still have this unsettled feeling of a bomb about to go off. Every time I learn of another young woman who has become terminal 3/5/10 years out of original diagnosis, the world stops and I am crushed by the weight of my mortality. That could be me. I could be dead in a few years. Don’t get comfortable because this could all end soon.

That’s some heavy shit right there.

I was talking to someone recently about the potential for catastrophic disaster in my future and trying to accept that reality, but also embracing the more probable likelihood that everything will turn out okay. I told her that no matter how much I have learned to be comfortable with my situation and try my best not to let it affect me, I’m still pissed off that I have to deal with any of this in the first place. I’m annoyed more than anything. I have these competing voices constantly battling for my attention:

You’re so lucky to still be alive! Seize every moment! Stop watching The Bachelor and go save the world!

Be mindful. Be present. You’re here now and you’re okay and that’s all that matters.

Stop stressing! Get more sleep! Exercise more! Stop eating pizza! You might die!

My back hurts. Was that pain there before? No, that’s a new pain. The internet says my cancer has probably spread and I’m toast. Shit. I’m so sad I won’t be able to enjoy the bagels and lox at my funeral.

It’s exhausting.

And then I feel guilt. Guilt because everything is actually, really great right now and none of my fears have become a reality. Guilt because I have friends who are not so lucky and would trade places with me in a second. Guilt for feeling like I’m not doing enough with whatever extra years I have been given.

See? Annoying, right? It’s just plain and simple a pain in the butt that I have to think about any of these things and can’t walk around in blissful ignorance like a person should be doing at my age.

And I guess this is why I’ve been staying away for awhile. Because I don’t want anyone to worry about me, or think that I haven’t moved on. I have moved on and continue every day to do that in the best way I know how. But moving on doesn’t mean it goes away, or even that it gets any easier. It’s always hard. We all carry the scars of the past and we’re all headed toward an uncertain future. But I’m choosing to live in that space in between. Or trying my best, at least. And right now that space is filled with family, friends, tv marathons, delicious food and laughter. And singing. So much wonderful, terrible, embarrassing singing.


11 thoughts on “Hello from the other side

  1. Survivors guilt is common, and not fair. I joined the stage IV train, and I don’t wish it on anyone. I cheer on the sidelines as I watch my people I know hit milestones. Never feel bad. Anxiety over every twitch is also normal (funny (to me) the things I freaked about that weren’t cancer, only to discover what the twitches are that are). Live life! Enjoy every moment, and do it guilt free! Fear is ok, but don’t let it run your life. 🙂

  2. Ahhh I love this blog post! I can totally relate to everything you are saying. ”Suvivorship” is tough. Its a luxury problem but it really does come with its own pressure and weight…I I feel a certain pressure to be happy and make the best of this time we have been ”given” and the guilt that creeps into when I am not ”seizing the day”

    Thank you for sharing & all the best to you x 🙂

  3. The best part is that you are completely normal and this is normal. Life is shitty and then it’s better and then it’s shitty again. But that’s ok, because we can do hard things and the good mostly outweighs the bad.

    Been reading for a while and I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented… I’m thrilled you’re doing well. Carry on with the singing.

  4. So… Do you know what the good news is? You are NORMAL! Even 15 years after my brush with cancer I used to think they are right…”once you’ve had cancer you never get a headache again, it’s just a brain tumor”. (Dark humor always helped). Now 25 years later, sometimes in the deep recesses of my mind they simply are just that, headaches. It’s good to hear that you are distancing yourself from that persona that invaded your body and that you have more days when it doesn’t define you. The monkey on our backs just becomes a little bit more transparent and less heavy as the years pass. It keep us alert and that can save our lives, so that monkey is a pesky friend that I only listen to if it gets too loud and annoying. May we have this conversation again 25 years from now! 2016 will be great – l wish you health, joy and laughter mixed in with all the love in your life. XXOO

  5. Enjoyed your post — so much is true. I’m eight years out and still get a little anxiety over the mammogram and waiting for the results. I don’t try to bury the experience. It stays in my peripheral vision, and that’s not such a bad thing. It helps me stay focused on having a healthier life and doing the best I can.

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