Friday, 8 August 2014

My Life-After-Cancer-Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Journey

As I approach the two-year anniversary of the onset of my cancer treatment (which, thankfully, also means we’ll be approaching my two-year anniversary of having it all completed and behind me…), I’ve been able to step back and truly figure out where I am in my journey. Common sense dictates that my cancer journey should officially be over but I’ve come to realize that common sense is not always so common.

Although having cancer was merely one chapter within my journey, I’ve come to realize that, similar to a “choose-your-own-adventure” book, that chapter has greatly influenced the direction of the current and future journeys.

One of the things I’m certain about is that life is filled with uncertainties. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t even know how I’m going to feel about whatever it is that does happen. What I do know, however, is that life is an adventure – and I’m going to do whatever I can to choose the pages that send me down the path towards the ‘happily ever after’.

My hair grows incredibly slowly. After a year and half it still isn’t anywhere near I thought it would be and every time I look in the mirror I still think “in progress”.
But it is growing and it’s long enough to get messed up in the wind on a beautiful summer day.

My body hasn’t fully bounced back from the weight gained during my treatment.
But I’m here and I’m healthy and there aren’t tons of deadly drugs or radiation waves flowing through me anymore.

I still have residual numbness and lack of strength in my arm from my surgery.
But my arms are still strong enough to wrap around all of the people I love in my life.

I can’t help but see my scars and radiation tattoos every single day that serve as constant and permanent reminders of what I’ve been through.
But they are also permanent reminders of what I survived.

I can’t hear phrases like “two-time cancer survivor” or “three-time cancer survivor” or stories about people who have been forced to endure this journey more than once without  feeling the pain through my very core.
But I choose to focus on the word “survivor” and how important it is for me to be grateful for where I am in life right now.

I still have days where I feel sad and think about everything I lost since being diagnosed with cancer – friends, strength and the belief that things like that “can’t happen to me”.
But more often than not I have days where I’m extremely grateful when I think about everything I have gained since being diagnosed with cancer – friends, strength and the knowledge that things like that can happen to me… and I’m stronger for it.

There are days where I still wake up feeling somewhat lost and sad.
But I wake up.

It can be incredibly frustrating to have things like this just “happen” to a person, with no choice in the matter.
But I can choose to focus on what I can control – my passions in life, my happiness, my love for my friends & family… That’s an adventure I would choose every single time.

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