Cancer, You Bitch


When we were little my siblings and I would drive each other crazy singing, “This is the song that doesn’t end. Yes it goes on and on my friend…”  I feel like that song kind of embodies the cancer experience. If you are sick of me writing about cancer, you can imagine I’m even more sick of living with it.

I’m sick of cancer showing up in my friends and family. I’m sick of it stealing their health, their peace of mind, their dreams and their autonomy over their futures. I’m sick of it changing their plans, course correcting their lives into Shitsville. I’m not saying cancer can’t be good for some things, but let’s be honest, it’s not Disney World. Cancer is brutal with varying degrees of enlightment, gratitude, beauty, sadness, pain and suffering woven throughout it’s coarse fabric.

I’m sick of cancer showing up in my own life, too. At work, as I’m starting to get back to “Life As Normal” (whatever the heck that means) I’m seeing the effects of cancer show up on the people who loved and supported me for so long. They are sick of cancer, too. I don’t blame them. I wish the last 15 months of my life had been drastically different…

Do I though? Would I trade everything I’ve learned and all the ways I’ve grown for an easier road? I don’t know, but probably not. It’s just that now I wish things were a little easier. I wish people I loved hadn’t suffered so much. I wish things weren’t still so difficult. I wish the moment I slid off that radiation table for the last time, as Seattle disappeared into the rear view mirror, that so, too would my disease. 

Of course, the physical effects of fighting disease have stayed with me. This is something I’d like to share with everyone who is loving a cancer warrior:

We are not back to normal.

Do we want to go on an all day outing with you? YES! Of course we do! Can we physically handle it? Probably not. 

Are we able to work full-time and give all the same energy to our careers as before? Nope, sorry. It sounds awesome though. Keep us in mind in about a year or so.

Does spending time with our spouses and children sound like fun? Heck yeah! Sign me up. Just know I may have to spend the whole day before or after in bed.

Everyone’s experience is different and it’s not like anyone elected me Cancer Ambassador this year. But as I sit here today with a temporary expander that is probably leaking saline into my body and as someone who spent close to 18 hours sleeping yesterday, I just want you to know that this song hasn’t ended yet. I am feeling sad and down and frustrated at all the things I still cannot manage despite being done with treatment. That doesn’t mean it won’t get better. It does mean that there is a laundry list of things I’d like to do, but I can’t quite get myself pulled together to do most of it. And that, THAT my friends, is frustrating. 

Once again, cancer has thrown this huge question of HOW? into my path. How are you going to get through this? How are you going to build the life you want? How are you going to heal? Dang cancer, you are a needy sonofabitch, aren’t you? For once, I think it would be super fun to wake up and say “yeah, I’m going to get this done today” and by miracle of normality I would be able to will that event into completion. 

I am miles and miles and miles away from that today. The grey sky, the prevalence of disease and the change in my own circumstances has me feeling downright depressed that I can’t power through it these days. I suppose tomorrow is another day. Another chance to rise and shine. But tonight, I’m going to cozy up to some wine and something- nay anything- that is sufficiently distracting on Netflix.

Give ‘Em Hell.

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