To survive the disease is not to be cured of the disease. Survival comes at a price. It's not possible to cut away body parts or poison the blood without some sort of ramification somewhere down the road.
The scars are a visible reminder of what was cut away. My previously organized office and my inability to stay focused are a reminder that poison takes its toll. And then, there is the downplayed, often ignored and rarely even acknowledged long term emotional aspect of survivorship. There is an element of guilt that accompanies the "I survived" while someone else fears death. There are feelings that are ignored rather than stared at head on. Ignoring the feelings creates fertile ground for anger and depression. And FEAR.
I've had a low grade fever on and off for the past two weeks. I know exactly what is wrong with me. And I will be getting proper medication for a silly infection. The thing is..... I know too much. And I know about the poisons used and I know the risks associated with some of those poisons. This fever? I've ignored it and explained it away and I KNOW it's nothing. But, cancer changes the landscape of life.
An "on and off" fever? For two weeks?? Talked myself off the ledge twice in as many days. "Suppose it's leukemia?" Logical AM knows this is so far out of left field but just like CB can derail an entire day with just one small snafu, a lingering fever? Leukemia. And, now that I've given myself a headache THINKING about this, I definitely have something going on in my brain. Equally idiotic. Cancer changes everything. And it IS that simple.
It's Game On as explained in this article because some of us would prefer to not wear the smiling, pink bandana wearing, sneaker walking, balloon holding rah rah rah face 24/7. We'd like the "luxury" of not wearing the happy pink face every once in a while. We are HUMAN. If you won the pink ribbon and are a survivor, the only acceptable thing is to smile. All the time. I smile and laugh MOST of the time, but jeez, there are moments and now I have to feel guilty over my feelings, too. Some of us have done that throughout the entire time of our illnesses and some of us are now supposed to be well rooted in survivor mode but if NONE of those fears or feelings were addressed, and I mean EVER addressed, they are going to pop up sooner or later.
The Wall Street Journal article is about the results of a study in which I participated and it's a study that anyone may join. I'm pretty thrilled to say I was in this thing from the very beginning. The results of the first batch of surveys were just published and yay, validation.
And, there's something very weird happening. Today, I am at an Army of Women event. About a dozen of us hold the same volunteer role in various parts of the country. Can I get someone to calculate some odds for me? I am in NY and one of the other women is in LA. How is it that we were BOTH participants in this inaugural study of just 1043 breast cancer survivors. Seriously?? And, three thousand people from ALL over the world on an April Cancer Care Chemobrain webinar? Both on that, too! And now, we just met because we are both actively involved in Army of Women????
I love coincidences! Takes my mind off stupid stuff, like imaginary diseases.