Welcome back, dear reader. I know you’re thinking I must have had an oncology appointment today or yesterday since I’m writing again. Hah! Wrong! It’s actually not for two more weeks. So there. I like to keep you on your toes. Today’s blog is just because. My follow-up from my last surgery went fine – I got a ‘you’re healing nicely’ pat on the head and an order to come back in 4 months for more tests and another checkup to make sure there’s no new cancer.
And so, here we are. Life is good. Since I wrote last, we’ve had family and friends come to visit, and our home is feeling more home-like than ever. The cancer is, for the most part, very slowly fading into a thing that happened. Fingers crossed that my next appointment goes well and it can continue to fade as a daily concern. With that being said, I am still a member of a few on-line support groups. (No insult meant to loved ones, but unless you’ve had cancer, there are just some things I can’t make you understand. And unless you’ve had the specific cancer I’ve had, there are even more things I can’t make you understand.) So. I still read and comment when I think I can help answer questions for newly diagnosed women.
Having been a member of various groups for almost 3 years now, I still find it odd that there are these personal things I will share with complete strangers. I find it strange that there are little cliques within them. I find myself wondering if there is something wrong with me that I can’t mouth the, “Fight like a girl!” and “Don’t stop fighting!” platitudes that others do. I do my best to share my experiences when appropriate, offer advice when asked, and only comment where I think I can do some good. I find myself saddened every time a group member passes, and that the world is a bit darker today, even if I barely knew her. I find myself thinking that if I ever do die from cancer, I swear to God I will come back and haunt anyone who ever says that I “lost the battle with cancer.” I don’t know why, but that particular phrase annoys the ever-loving shit out of me.
I paused after writing that last bit, and googled “lose a battle to cancer.” The search results were incredible. It seems I am not the only one who thinks that the phrase both diminishes and insults the person about whom it is uttered. It just makes them seem like they didn’t try hard enough – that any of this was within their control. That they failed. I found this article/letter made the point much better than I ever could, and with just the right amount of snark. (Which, if you know me at all, means a lot. A lot of snark. Tons even. I think she’s my soul-mate. Hauntings for everyone!) And for a more eloquent, snark-free explanation, I’m going to borrow Stuart Scott’s words: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, and the manner in which you live.”
With that, I ask that when you impatiently check to see if there’s a new blog up (as I’m sure thousands of you do, daily), please remember that I am living. For every blog I don’t post, there has been a sunset viewing on the beach with my mom and dad, a dinner out with a friend, a movie date with my husband, a concert mini-reunion with friends, a buddy tattoo to commemorate a truly great weekend, a giggly grown-up slumber party, or a quiet evening at home with my man catching up on a cool new show (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, if you must know). I’m sure there are people out there doing much more interesting things with their lives, and wringing every last moment out of every last second – but for me, I am exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing. And that, dear reader, is what I call living. Until next time, boys and girls.