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.