We all know a cancer survivor whether it be a family member, friend, colleague or acquaintance. I'd like to share what it means for some of us to be cancer survivors, and thought it might be helpful, especially if you have a survivor in your life, and need a little insight on what makes us tick!
As cancer survivors, when we hear the word remission we are thankful and grateful for the chance at life again. We concentrate on the important things in life, like family and friends, and try to not sweat the small stuff, because after walking a cancer journey, you realize how small most of it truly is. Some of us feel called to "pay it forward", as we find ways to give back to those in need. Some of us walk a little closer to God, because He was the one who carried us through the storm. For most of us, remission means a new normal. There was life before cancer, during cancer, and after cancer, and they are all very different experiences.
For those looking at us from the outside, it may appear, business as usual, all is good, and they have it all together. And, many days, it is and we do! However, a new normal can also mean living with long term side effects of our treatments, with some lasting years after treatment ends. We may also deal with physical, emotional and spiritual changes. We deal with survivors remorse, as we watch those we care about and love succumb to their illnesses as we try to understand why them and not me. We are saddened by the relationships that didn't survive during our cancer journeys but also come to realize maybe it was time to say good-bye to those relationships.
We are heartbroken as we watch friends and loved ones who have to travel this road more than once. Many of us will tell you that we do not live in fear of cancer recurrence, but we will also tell you from time to time, that fear rears it's ugly head, especially when routine screenings come around. However, for some of us, that's where that "walking a little closer to God" comes in handy. The mark that cancer leaves behind for survivors can vary in each of us and may be physical, emotional or spiritual. Please know, we are still us, a little new and improved, maybe a little broken at times, as we all are. But we are here and we have a purpose in life to keep living it.