Back Behind The Wheel, Chipping Away At the Cancer Journey


Self-reliance can be a challenge after a long cancer journey but taking on even small steps can make a major difference in moving forward.

Well, I did it. Finally.

Back at my parents’ home on Long Island, I took the car out for a spin. Not my car — I haven’t driven in almost a decade; had no need during college, moved to New York City after graduation, and then came cancer and multiple surgeries — but reacclimating with this kind of basic, “you’re a grown ass man, shouldn’t you have this down by now?” life skill has been on my radar for a while. And so, I borrowed my dad’s ride to break the ice.

There were a few jitters at first, sure, with decision making, and getting my head back in the game after such a prolonged hiatus. But nothing I couldn’t handle. Sometimes you just got to do it. And dusting off the ol’ license is only one example of a larger issue I’ve been grappling with lately on the cancer journey: regaining my rhythm with common, day-to-day life interactions.

These days it seems even little things, like petty confrontations with customer service reps or updating insurance forms, trigger my nervous system and feel like a much bigger deal than they should. Everything’s an emergency! Like my brain only knows one mode— life or death— and for a while, I’ve found myself heavily in need of support from loved ones.

Granted, when you’ve spent the past few years in treatment and living in a protective bubble, it’s only natural to grow rusty and overly reliant on others. I actually touched on this in my other post ‘Yet’ Makes All the Difference , a post about leaning too much on the cancer card, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made since then.

But feeling weak, too dependent or that you’ve generally taken a step back in life, can be straight up embarrassing. It’s almost impossible not to grow insecure. And if you’re in the position of being healthy enough to do so, getting back behind the wheel seems to be the only way to truly regain strength and confidence; a crucial step, I’ve found, on the quest for wellness and empowerment.

I’ve still got plenty of other areas to tackle. Trust me, I get it. Hopping out for a joy ride around the suburbs is hardly worth bragging about. But the point is that I’m chipping away and taking things one mile at a time. Hopefully, I’ll get back on track sooner rather than later.

Related Videos
Beth Blakey speaking in an interview with CURE
Cancer survivor, Frank J. Peter, playing an original song on the piano