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Life Redefined: The Good and the Bad

Post Published: 03 May 2011
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Category: Column, Life Redefined, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment

Lately, I’ve been thinking and wondering, “Will I EVER be cancer-free?” I haven’t had a clean scan (yet), but my doctor is optimistic, not that optimism is the cure for cancer. I really am thinking beyond the physical aspect, though. I can fathom being physically free of cancer, but I cannot even begin to imagine how my mind, personality, and thoughts can be cancer-free.

This past weekend I experienced big chunks of time where I didn’t think about cancer. Not even a little bit. I felt as though this was a major accomplishment, like I was really figuring out how to live with cancer without cancer dominating my life. But then one night I had a cancer-filled dream, a dream where my body was showered with cancer and major surgery was inevitable. Yes, it was a dream (not a good one, mind you), but even after I woke up, I couldn’t stop thinking about cancer. It moved back to the forefront of my thoughts.

As with all experiences, our experiences with chronic illnesses and cancers are a part of who we are and who we have become. They have molded us and shaped us. No, we don’t always welcome these changes, but the fact is they are PART of us. Because of these changes, I think cancer will always be a part of me. Of course I hope that my body will be rid of cancer physically. That’s what I’m working towards; I want a clean scan so very much, and when that day comes, believe me, there will be a party. But I’m starting to accept that even if I am physically without cancer, my life will never be fully cancer-free. I just don’t know that it’s possible because of all that I’ve experienced as a result of cancer. All that I’ve gone through—the surgeries, the interactions with medical professionals, the interactions with health insurance providers, the PEOPLE, and oh so much more—all of this has molded me into who I am right now. I’ve had SO MANY positive experiences that I never would have had if I didn’t have cancer. Of course, these have been accompanied by terrifying, seemingly unendurable experiences. I’d give back the hard, painful stuff in a heartbeat if I could, but I only if I could hold on to the good that I’ve gained.  I know that’s not possible, but a girl can dream, right?

I’m coming to understand that, for now, the good and the bad have to live alongside each other.

Has cancer or chronic illness brought any positive changes into your life? Do you think cancer and chronic illness will ALWAYS be a part of who you are? How do you allow the hard stuff to exist alongside the good? I want to hear from you!!

xoxo,

Joanna

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6 Responses to “Life Redefined: The Good and the Bad”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Well said!

  2. Joanne Naso says:

    I appreciate your frankness and candor . . . I am only 3 weeks into the “cancer world” and can’t imagine it not being part of my “definition” as I move forward. I agree there are some BIg positives that go along with its’ BIG negative. There is some sense of truly being able to see people for who they are, and what they can bring to their relationship with the “new you”. People that I knew I could rely on have gone beyond my wildest dreams with their honest support . . .others that I was unsure of, have disappointed me. I am finding great strength in taking care of “me”

    My journey continues . . .!!!

    • I hear you, Joanne. There is NOTHING good about cancer. I hate it with every ounce of my being. BUT, I still have had positive experiences in my life that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t have cancer. For those experience

      I love so much that the people in your life have stepped up to the plate and been there for you. That’s BEAUTIFUL. I hope you’ll participate in our newest letter-writing campaign about relationships. It seems as though you have a wonderful perspective to bring to the conversation. http://bit.ly/mg1Ge5

  3. Monique says:

    I’m in tears reading this. Having surgery April 13th while 22 weeks pregnant was so hard, but the best choice I made. Your story is inspiring and I wish you luck. Going back and forth with thyroid cancer sine 2006 and having 2 healthy babies while having them. I wish you so much luck!!!!!!

  4. Wow, Monique, thank you for commenting and sharing a bit of your story! I love that you had two bundles of joy mixed in with the hard trial of cancer. I wish you nothing but health and happiness!

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