I was raised an atheist but have always wished I could believe in God because it would make life easier. During the cancer ordeal, I had to believe that there was a bigger picture and I had to let go of this control I thought I had over my life.
Getting cancer was like any trauma. At first I didn't feel right using the word trauma but when I thought about it, it was like a serial killer decided to pick me, except the killer was my own immune system.
I'm working through letting go of figuring why I got sick. Whether I could have been happier, healthier, you know all those things they speak of in anti-cancer books.
I know that cancer happens, I had a curable cancer, but now that I'm out the other end I'm in shock.
I've not made sense of my experience yet. I look at survivors further down the track as role models. But I'm not ready to have certain conversations. I was asked recently wasn't I scared that the chemo that made me better made me sicker and I have a shortened life span. If I were religious, I'd say, God has a plan for all of us and works in mysterious ways. If I were hardcore Bhuddist I'd say suffering is the path to nirvana. People think cancer survivors are all enlightened beings. But I'm not, at least not yet. I'm angry at times. My sister in law suggested anger was why I got cancer. She's one of those holier than thou, martyr types...I learnt to stay away from her weird energy during my cancer treatment. The last thing j needed was her concerned but completely clueless support.
So this is how I answer the "aren't you worried the drugs that cured you will kill you?".
No. Because if I didn't get chemo, I'd be dead today.
I was on a very potent regime, but it is a new generation regime. I knew my doctor cares about quality of life in younger patients, so I trusted him. It was tough doing the last cycle since I probably was cancer free by then, but since they thought I needed a stc in the early days and I had prepared for that, I thought of the final round as insurance or mop up.
Of course I'm worried about toxicity, but I had no option. Even if I went back in time I might not have had an option.
In fact, unless someone asks, I try not to think about things that are beyond my control. I figure that no one has 100 per cent certainty they will live or die, until the end. I also have faith that I can regenerate and I try to look at the positives.
Lance Armstrong helps. He regenerated.
The thing is, I have to choose the path to further enlightenment through this shit experience.
My other option is to keep dwelling on the bad shit.
I'm hoping to die of old age in my sleep.
And that's the thing. We are all going to die. It's just that most people my age or older think of it as quite an abstract thing.
My fears are not for myself, but for my son.
That's been the hardest part of it all. He's old enough to understand but not completely.
I realize I can't protect him from everything and I'm so grateful that he is healthy. He has a cold at the moment and I was really anxious. I thought I had a mild cold/flu and it turned out to be cancer. I really have to work through my issues.
Life seems so fragile.
Every day since diagnosis, I've gotten to the end and thought, wow. I'm alive and I made it through.
With an acute awareness of death, comes an acute awareness of life.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.