They say that remission is hard. It’s sometimes more hard than the actual treatment itself. I remember on my last day of chemo, one of my friends who is an NP at my cancer center told me this, and it stuck with me. I’ve been in remission for two months, and while I thank god every night for giving me a second chance, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s hard. Really hard. You’re still tired, your body is healing, and you are physically and emotionally drained. When you’re in treatment, you feel safe. You’re at your cancer center every week. You’re constantly getting checked on. When I was told that I was in remission, I had a follow up the next week with my doctor. Then he told me see you in two months (which would be November) for an office visit and a CT scan. Then he also told me not to get pregnant within those two months (not like I would anyways!). That’s when my heart actually sunk. When he told me see you in two months. So those two months, you’re basically on your own. And you have to learn to be whole again and not depend on a doctor checking in with you every week. It’s just harder than I could have ever imagined, and I handled my whole chemo/radiation situation pretty well. My heart also sunk when he told me not to get pregnant. That’s when it becomes real and you know your port is still in for a reason, just in case.
Chemo has a way of sneaking up on you. Your body acts really crazy during and after chemo. I’ve had horrible stomach aches, and abdominal pain, and it makes me freak out. Sometimes when the pain is so bad, it gives me flash backs of that exact pain happening this time last year, and I freak out. My friend Amy who had Lymphoma even had to tell me to chill and take a Xanax last week…HA!! Because I was going nuts over it. Cancer messes with your mind, and can even make you feel like you have symptoms that you don’t really have, which I’ve found that a lot of my cancer friends and myself are guilty of. You just don’t know what’s next for you, and you have to learn to be okay with it. Remission by far does not mean that everything is over, which your friends a lot of the time can’t grasp.
Sometimes I have days of driving to work and I think about all of the crap that my mind and body has been through and just think “wow, did all of that shit just happen to me?” And it brings me to tears. But life goes on, and I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that I can’t be scared of what’s going to happen next, and I can’t let fear control me. You never know what tomorrow will bring, ever. There’s no easy answer or solution to learning how to live after cancer. Some people just ignore it like it never happened, and some people just push through it and embrace it, When all is said and done, life is messy, and it’s always going to be messy, you can’t outrun that. I think living in the moment is the best gift that cancer has given me. I’m learning to live in the actual moment, and do what I want, when I want. Stupid things that people worry about, I could care less about. I know what’s important now, and that’s LIVING while you are actually alive and making an impact on other people’s lives while you’re doing it.
One of the Miami Marlins players passed away recently after being in a boating accident at the young age of 24. It’s all about the legacy that you leave behind, and while his situation was heart breaking, he left such an amazing legacy behind. I’m finally proud of the person that I’ve become and the amount of people that I have helped during my storm, and I think if more people could be like this and create awareness, the world would be a much better place. I owe a lot of this to all of the fighters, survivors, and my doctors/nurses who helped me beyond belief, and encouraged me to help others in the process. Everything happens for a reason, and although life after cancer is tough, the actual cancer will shape you into the person that you are. So, I’ve learned to celebrate. Every damn day. Because the fact that we are still standing after all of the crap that we have been through is reason enough to celebrate. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
oh and by the way, find my book “Talk Cancer To Me” available at amazon here: