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I Am More Than My Cancer

Sometimes we can be regarded as being obsessed with cancer, but every single cancer survivor is more than that, and hold important roles in our lives to play.
PUBLISHED October 19, 2017
Jane has earned three advanced degrees and had several fulfilling careers as a librarian, rehabilitation counselor and college teacher. Presently she does freelance writing. Her articles include the subjects of hearing loss and deafness, service dogs and struggling with cancer. She has been a cancer survivor since 2010.

She has myelodysplastic syndrome, which is rare, and would love to communicate with others who have MDS.
I love to write and the articles I submit to are therapeutic for me. I enjoy using my talent with words to help encourage others.

However, I am afraid that people think I am obsessed with cancer since I write so much about it. Like most cancer survivors, nothing could be further from the truth.

Naturally, the shadow of cancer is always hanging over us, whether we are worried about a worsening cancer, going into and out of remission or hoping for a new miracle drug to appear.

The cancer is always in the back of my mind, sort of like a little gnat swarming around my brain. Sometimes that gnat lands on me, especially during the five days I go in for chemo every month. However, I simply do not have time to be watching that gnat otherwise. Every one of us has a life to live with our families, our friends, our jobs and our lifestyles. We are all different and, like a kaleidoscope, constantly turning and changing. Diversity is what makes life interesting.

Each of you is more than cancer and knows what your love and interests are.

I have a service dog that is my soul mate, friend, ears and fur baby. I have done programs all over the country with her. I have written a picture book and several articles about her. I was more upset when she injured herself recently than when I was out of remission. At least I understood what was happening – she didn’t. We have many friends, both human and canine, that we have met on our journey.

I am an avid reader and belong to a book club. We meet monthly and I get together with other people who love books. It is a highlight of my social life and I rarely miss it. I have many more books on Kindle than I can ever read, and admit I am an addict!

I am a huge sports fan, and presently am in mourning because my baseball team was eliminated from the playoffs. I live in LeBron James country and follow basketball closely. I have been an Ohio State fan and attended games for over 40 years. I don’t think about chemo while watching all my sports.

I have been hard of hearing all my life and have presented about it at national conventions. I have written several articles and was part of a local support group for decades. I even taught Deaf Culture at the college level.

I have a church that I love, and the congregation and minister mean the world to me.

I enjoy traveling and putting together pictures from my trips.

And I am so fortunate to have a wonderful family, friends, neighbors and people I cherish. I am a friend, sibling, cousin, neighbor, church member, reader, dog lover and the list goes on and on.

Who are you? List all the fascinating parts of your kaleidoscope, and remember this during the hard times. Many of you have even more roles than I do in your fascinating lives which include wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and daughter. Cancer doesn’t change who we are.

I am not obsessed with my cancer. I have to go to doctor visits, endure chemo monthly and follow a less rigorous schedule than I used to. I also try to exercise and consume a better diet. I want to find time to encourage other cancer survivors on this crazy roller coaster journey we are on, which was not of our choosing.

We battle cancer not to just obtain remission and live. We battle cancer so we can enjoy all the other parts of our complex lives.

Remember you are not dying with cancer, but living with it. Toss that worrisome gnat aside when you can. You are more than your disease. Know this and take advantage of every second you have!
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