Monday, February 1, 2010

How do you move forward in life, if you can quite seem to move on from cancer?

This is actually a post I wrote back in June. Though a little out of date, a lot of bits are still relevant, and I figured I should just go ahead and publish it for all to see.

By now, you should have gotten the point that things for me are sort of in a rapid state of stagnation. I've finished with school, I've moved from Pittsburgh, I'm supposedly looking on to bigger and brighter things. Rapid amounts of change, with certain constants. I still have cancer. I still need to block out time in my life to deal with cancer. I'm not even technically in remission, so I still need to be on high alert if I can feel anything change. In the ideal world, my last round of radiation would have obliterated whatever cancer cells I had left. I would be on a set schedule of six month-year check-ups, w/out extra testing or scans, or uncertainty. The drama tagged along with actively still having cancer would be done. And that would be how I wrap up one chapter of my life, in a nice little package, so I can start fresh, with the next chapter. Only minor strings and hassles attached.

If only the world functioned that way.

Am idolizing that sort of situation a little too much? Can cancer survivors really move on with their lives w/out it plaguing them? I almost feel like, and especially for young people, cancer just stays with you. I'm a bad person to judge on this. I've had too many false hopes, and too many recurrences. I think it would take me at least 2 years before I would accept a clean bill of health. And even then, and I know this from the 1 year of "clean" health I had, I wouldn't know quite who I was without the cancer label; how I should react, trying to figure out what really is and isn't worth worrying or caring about.

I think thyroid cancer has its own special ways of reminding us we will never be better, or who we were before. You lose an organ. A whole one, right off the bat. You will be taking a pill every day for the rest of your life. And for young adults, the rest of your life is a pretty long time.

Which leads me to the question... is it different for older people? People who have solid lives; who aren't necessarily at a point of massive change? People with jobs, and families, and homes?


Charlcie Steuble said...

I'm so glad to read your post. I mean, I'm not glad you are struggling but glad to hear I'm not the only one with thyroid cancer who feels this way.

It's been just over a year since my last recurrence was diagnosed, and I'm still looking over my shoulder, still don't believe that I'm really done with thyroid cancer. I talk a good game, blogged on New Years Eve how I'm letting go of thyroid cancer with the old year of 2009, but it's still in the back of my mind.

You asked if this is different for older people? Not sure if I'm in the category but am 41 with three kids, a job, house, and this is still a problem for me.

And the comment about the special reminders for thyroid cancer, taking the little pill each day. What gets me about thyroid cancer is that you have to live with regulating your thyroid to try to get back your energy, weight, and life in some cases. At times, "normal" is a distant memory.

Thanks for allowing me to agree and vent. Yes, I'm glad I survived. However, I can be frustrated and still at times mad about the after affects.

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Happy New Year! I am working on improving my blogroll- Cancer Blogs - at Being Cancer Network where your own blog is presently listed. One of the things I want to do is to improve the 800 blog entries, making them more useful for readers.

Check to see if information is correct. Please let me know your specific cancer diagnosis - the medical term. Also the year you were diagnosed and anything else you think is relevant for the listing such as a transplant. If you have written a book or memoir, I can feature it in a special Cancer Book List section. Please include the name of your blog in the email so I can put the information in the correct listing.

It would also really, really help if you could let me know of any cancer blogs that are not on my list. Thanks in advance.

Cancer Blogs I & II has been a very popular (over 8000 visits) and valuable resource for folks. It allows people to view what others with a similar diagnoses have gone through. And it brings additional attention and traffic to survivor’s blogs. It is helping to build a strong, vibrant community of survivors.

Please consider adding Being Cancer Network to your blogroll if you have not already done so. I am now following you on Blogged.

Please see my January 10 post - New Year’s New Face - for additional changes in the website. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

Dennis Pyritz, RN
leukemia & transplant survivor