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Dear Diary: Thoughts from a Cancer Survivor

I miss the girl who was too self-absorbed to know real sorrow.
PUBLISHED March 23, 2017
Kate Beland does not believe that cancer defines her. She is an athlete, a marathoner, a mother, a wife and a writer. When she is not conducting her three-ring circus act, she is busy kicking late stage melanoma's butt and keeping herself sane through her writing and running: or
I wish I was still that girl who skipped along through life with her crazy curly hair bouncing around just missing trouble by the skin of her teeth. You know that girl...laughing loudly at the most ridiculous scenarios like people slipping on ice (trust me, as long as they are not hurt, it's funny...sadistic yes, but laugh-out-loud funny to see the windmill going during this long New England winter).

I miss the girl who was too self-absorbed to know real sorrow other than from one of those cheesy Hallmark commercials or Lifetime movies. I want to be the girl who can seize every day with love, joy and laughter despite the sadness and challenges in the world. But it's hard to put the big girl pants on lately.

My own state of cancer life for myself today is great. Until I meet my oncologist again (30 days and counting), I am still no evidence of disease. But more recently, everywhere I turn, I am hit with a cancer survivor who is in relapse, who has passed away or is newly diagnosed. I am tired of this f***ing life stealer and dream crusher.

If I believed in signs or fate, I would think that I should be going back to school, medical school to find a cure for two diseases that are prevalent in my life right now, such as cancer and Type 1 juvenile diabetes. Both can kill you. Both are controlled by the big pharmaceutical companies, and neither of them have a cure.

Alas, I am too old and too tired to go back to school so I find myself back at my laptop, writing about the two diseases I am tired of writing about. I long for the days when I wrote about running and fitness and how to conquer the challenge of a race or a training run. I miss those light and fluffy days.

Today, I am so mad. There are far too many people I know right now who are battling cancer and may not win this fight.

Today, I know far too many people who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones from this wretched disease that plucked them from happy days.

Today, I mourn for an 8-year-old little girl with a malignant brain tumor who is undergoing treatment for more time. Today, I mourn for a mother who has a 7 year old; the mother's cancer has come back and it appears that more treatment is not an option.

Today, I am tired of putting the big girl pants on, and I just want to cry.

I don't want to be the dark and twisty character. I wish I could be the girl who wants to talk about the doldrums of motherhood or the latest red carpet news. But I never was the girl who goes shopping and dreams of manicures and alone time at a spa. I dream of being able to do more, be big and bold, save the world and help the people who can cure this disease and are so close. I want to help the people who are fighting this disease and don't know where to turn.

But I am just a girl with crazy curly hair who dreams of a world where everyone would fight for and care for and maybe hold the hand of someone who cancer has touched. I dream big and deep, and maybe dark and twisty, but someone has to.

Today, I am in mourning. Tomorrow, I will put together a plan to do something with all these big, bold, dark, but heartfelt dreams.
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