Becky’s blog: Things aren’t always as they seem

May 14, 2014

Becky ddy_0459(1)

I am a 10-year cancer survivor who has seen very few long-term physical effects of cancer and its treatment. As far as I know, the only continuing effect is impaired thyroid function due to radiation therapy. It is really common, and easily maintained.

Post-treatment I had really low energy reserves. I had had also lost strength and flexibility. I wasn’t where I wanted to be physically—nine months of reduced physical activity and fighting a serious illness will do that to a person. Luckily, I had a lot of motivation. Coupled with a little patience and perseverance I was back to where I wanted to be in a matter of months.

I am incredibly fortunate, and thankful that my physical health has posed minimal challenges. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge some of the challenges I could be facing.

I have friends whom find difficulty in their activities of daily living. Things like cleaning, using the phone, or picking up their children can be challenging. I have friends whom experience chronic pain, impaired immune function, infertility, skin irritation, and swelling. I have friends whom have undergone intense amounts of physiotherapy after brain injury or surgery due to illness.

These friends look no different than you or me. They appear to be young and healthy. As a result they have been asked insensitive questions about of the status of their health or appearance. They have been discriminated in the workplace because they need accommodations made for their health, they have many appointments, and they are not visibly unwell.

These same friends show incredible strength, and are truly inspiring to me. They parent. They work. They study. They learn about adoption. They lift weights, start running, and stay active. They speak to their managers about discrimination, file complaints with the labour board, and stand up for their rights. They relearn how to walk through months of physiotherapy, and rock a cane on days when getting around is a bit more difficult. They reach out, talk to others, and find ways to help take care of themselves. I have an immense amount of respect for the factors affecting their lives and how they face those challenges.

If you are out there fighting an invisible ailment, know that you are not alone. If you are not, please be mindful. You never know what others are going though.

Hugs and high fives!
-B

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