It's really weird, in many ways the opposite reaction of what you'd expect ..
I thought it might be useful to write about it, as many people here are coping with grief, anger, fear, and my personal reaction has been somewhat different.
(Yes, absolutely, coloured by anxiety sometimes - mainly around what happens to my children, but for the most part, dealing with cancer has made me stronger and in some ways, happier).
The one thing in the human experience that unites us all is pretty straight forward ... we will all die.
Everybody has a date with the ole Grim Reaper, but what happens to a cancer patient is a kind of metamorphasis from a loose acceptance of the fact .. to a sense that now they have a concrete date, and it's approaching them like the headlights of a truck on a highway.
What I think that does is makes some people prepare themselves for dying.
It's a prudent thing, it's an honest thing, but it's not the only thing.
Yes, we'll all die, but even when dealing with cancer, none of us truly knows when. There are wonderful stories of people with quite dramatically advance cancers who survive years longer than expected. My own ex-stepfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer not long before I got my own head & neck diagnosis, and they gave him 3 months to live. That was 2 years ago, and his cancer is now considered tentatively in remission (having shrunk 80%).
The point I want to make is simple ... you still don't know when you're going to die.
So don't forget to live.
Even with the awful side effects of chemoradiation, surgery, financial worries, everything else .. stay plugged in to life. Don't start wrapping the shroud around yourself just yet. Fight, but don't make the battle the only thing either. See a movie, hug a friend, don't give your humanity to this disease.
Today, I had my PEG feeding tube removed, and it hurt like hell. I'm still dealing with pain & mucositis in my mouth, and yet, when I was walking down the street, with the sun on my shoulder .. I smiled. I felt happy.
It's hard to explain why - and I'm not sure I'm doing a good job ..
But I think cancer has taught me that life is precious, and we should do our best to make the most of what we're given. Yes, since I got cancer, I smile more. Maybe I'm just a weirdo.
But if you're reading this .. and you feel alone, and struggling .. find some anchor that helps you navigate through all of that fear, denial, anger, etc .. so that you can see the sunshine again.
Hi Captain and you seem the sort of guy who has the right attitude for what you are going through, I have had Bladder Cancer for the last twelve months now and it is a test of yourself plus family n friends. Some of my friends expected to be attending my funeral twelve months after they found out but in this day and age not all cancers kill, thankfully. I have tried to educate the rest with info I have given them and a daughter who gives me an abundence of hope in every thing she says. I have had high's and low's and living with a wife who is a pessimist isn't good believe me and you are right to smile and get something that occupies the mind and body as I too am not ready for the Reaper just yet. I have lots of things I occupy myself with but finding the time is always a problem but hey do it as the rest can wait, hope to talk to you as your's and my Journey progress.'
Love and best wishes
Thanks for the kind words .. sorry for not checking back here so regularly.
Today, I actually got my "all clear" .. I was so relieved .. I've been approaching the cancer with as much strength and dignity as I can muster .. but some times in the darker reaches of the night, I imagine dying and get really distressed .. not for myself and the idea of end of consciousness, or a transition (or whatever happens) .. but the idea that my children wouldn't understand and would have to grieve at very young ages (4, 6 & 8).
But thankfully - my body is disease free, I managed to beat the bastardly thing
Well .. early days .. but yeah, great news. I hope you also manage to win your fight.
Hi Captain and this week has been quite busy in "My Bladder Cancer(BC) Journey" as I have been to three different hospitals but I got the all clear so all worth it with just one more test result to come on Monday I live for another 3 months until the next round of testing, even plan on going on holiday. Well done on your own personnel "All Clear" and long may it continue. Your emotional journey sounds much the same as mine as it's in the early hours when you lie in bed thinking about the whole stupid world that has been thrown at us and the question is always "Why Me" but you get up and get on with life as it is and thats what counts.
Keep on living Captain,