Cancer Made Me Superstitious


After being diagnosed with cancer, I’m nervous to plan for my future, and can’t say I’m in remission without knocking on wood.

Cancer has brought many little quirks into my life. For example, I can’t see the color purple without thinking “Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” I can’t drink any red liquids without thinking about one of my past chemotherapy drugs. I also can’t say I am in remission without knocking on wood three times, crossing my fingersand holding my breath.

It’s official — cancer has turned me into an extremely superstitious person.

After being diagnosed with lymphoma, Chelsey Gomez says she longs for the day she is in control of her life again.

After being diagnosed with lymphoma, Chelsey Gomez says she longs for the day she is in control of her life again.

My superstition surrounding cancer has led to another unintended consequence in my life. I am afraid to plan for the future, for my future. I feel like I’m testing fate when I simply buy tickets to see my favorite band six months from now.I fully expect the grim reaper to come ring my doorbell and tell me how silly I was for thinking I was actually OK.

So much of my life over the past four years has been lived in short intervals. So much of my life has not been in my control. Show up and get your treatments, go get your blood taken, another scan, another surgery, another specialist… Sure you might say I had a choice, but when my life hung in the balance did I really? Attempting to plan is an attempt to control the future, something that makes me very uncomfortable now.

I worry everyday that I won’t feel safe again. Safe to plan, safe to tell my story without an asterisk, or even just safe to live.

I miss the days when I was at home in my body and my mind. I yearn for the day I can exist without a cancer cloud over my head. I still don’t know if that day will come. Perhaps, the small comfort of my silly superstitions is a way to get some control back. So I will keep knocking on wood, making wishes on shooting stars, and even looking for four-leaf clovers. I can only hope that the universe will allow me the privilege of a little magic and a lot of life yet to come.

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