Exactly two years ago, I finished my very last cancer treatment, which was my last day of radiation.
Things have changed so much from that day, and life has slowly become “normal” again. Each day is a struggle to get past the long-term disabilities that my treatment has left me with, but you find a way to push through.
The word “cancer” has become part of my every day vocabulary — and I hate it. When you are a cancer patient or survivor, it’s on your mind practically 24/7 with the fears of relapses and everything you went through. It’s not easy for us to drop or to stop talking about it all together when it has consumed our lives and basically tried to kill us. But with all that being said, there comes a point when we try to repress those thoughts and try to go about our “new normal.”
I know the intentions are pure and people are genuinely concerned, but it does get monotonous when we get asked “How are you feeling?”, “Are you still sick?”, “When is your next scan?”, “Explain your cancer to me again. I don’t get it.” Most people want to know out of love, but then there are people who are just nosy. There is so much more to people than their diseases. SO much more.
Reflecting on being done treatments for two years now made me realize I’m ready to let the “c-word” go. I’m sure there will be times I need to talk about it with people that are closest to me, and I’ll always need my scans and blood work done, getting my vaccines from my transplant completed, etc., but I need to remove this word from my everyday life. Like I said before, I am so much more than the cancer.
Next time you see me, genuinely bring up another topic. Ask me how school is going, what my plans are for the weekend — anything but cancer. I’m strongly asking my friends and family to not bring up cancer to me anymore unless I NEED to talk about it. Being questioned about my disease day in and day out puts a strain on my mental health, and it needs to stop.
It has taken a lot to get to this point, but I’m so glad I’m ready to put the darkest part of my life behind me, finish school, get a career in a field I love, and not have to bring up cancer every day.
So, two years to the day of no longer being a patient, but a survivor — and I’m proud to be one — but now it’s on to bigger and better things, without cancer!
Originally posted on Facebook on September 3, 2016. Reposted with permission.