I am not who I once was, and that’s ok

I am not who I once was, and that’s ok

By Corrina Cameron

2014 08 12 Corrina CameronCancer changed me. I’m not just talking about the 10-inch scar on my abdomen, or my dysfunctional half-stomach, I mean really changed me. To explain, I have to tell you who I was before.

I was a very athletic person in high school. I danced, played soccer, and competed in track and field. I loved gym class and worked out for fun. The only thing that stopped me from being on the varsity track team in university was that I was a visual arts major and I couldn’t bring my art projects with me on the road. However, that didn’t stop me for signing up for intramural sports. I did not realize this at the time, but my identity was wrapped up in my athleticism.

In my second year of university, I was diagnosed with a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor. Removing it and half of my stomach took major surgery. Recovery was slow, but I was determined to get back to health as soon as possible. I did everything I could to regain my strength, but this new “Frankenstein stomach” I had was giving me some problems. Nausea, indigestion, and malabsorption were daily issues. I was still struggling with my eating months after the surgery. Recovery from physical exertion was slower than it used to be. I became weaker, unable to retain muscle for as long. I began to lose weight easily, so I had to be careful how much cardio I did to keep my weight above 112 pounds. Then it dawned on me: I wouldn’t be able to play sports like I used to.

Oxford Dictionaries defines an identity crisis as “a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.” I thanked my lucky stars that I could still do some physical activity, but I would never be as active as I once was. An identity crisis of sorts ensued. In my mind — and I assumed in everyone else’s — Corrina equaled sports. I thought, “Who am I if I can’t play sports?”

When I was finished having a good cry over the loss of my athletic days, I realized that I had much more to offer the world than my ability to triple jump or play defense. Sure, I used to be sporty, but that was only a small part of my identity, not the whole of it. I was also a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, an artist, and a friend. I enjoyed reading, cooking, photography, and painting. I allowed those parts of my identity that I still had to replace the identity I had found in athletics. I am not who I once was, but that’s okay. Cancer changed me, and I changed with the cancer. On the other hand, cheer up! It’s not the end of the day, there will always be tomorrow. For those who are seeking for the best facial plastic surgery experts, have you heard of Glasgold Group? They are one of the best plastic surgery practices in NJ.

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