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Life after cancer. I know, I’m jumping ahead.

2:40pm. July 10th 2014. 

How I’m feeling: I’m OK. Trying to get my energy up before I head out to spend time with some friends. 

The past few days have been difficult for me. In fact, ever since I was told I need more treatment – a bazillion thoughts have been zipping back and forth through my mind. And as a result, I haven’t been sleeping well at all.

I’ve realized that things are much more unpredictable than I had thought. Everybody (including myself) wants to know about an end date on my treatment – and it’s really getting to me. While, I know that I should not be concerned with not being able to give others a clear answer to questions I get on the regular like “When is your last treatment?” “When can you expect to be done?” etc. – it’s been tough to respond with just a shrug. I can’t give a satisfactory answer. And as frustrating as it may be for others – imagine how frustrating it is for me. It’s 10X more – but I’m really trying hard to not let it get to me.

It’s had me realize that we are all such slaves to certainty. It’s so interesting (and to an certain extent – unfortunate), eh? As risky and adventurous as we’d all like to think we are, we’re not. We seek comfort in knowing that at the end of the year we’re going on vacation, that we’re starting a new job next week, that next week we have a wedding to go to and that the following week we have a big meeting with a potential investor. And when things don’t pan out at the last minute – it causes us an immense amount of stress.

We are all guilty of it – and I used to be really terrible with it. While I still have my struggles – I have gotten much much better. And it’s only when I spend time with others – when I start to realize this. I feel such a big contrast. I’ve started to notice that what my friends and family stress out about – no longer phase me close to the extent that it would have in the past. This massive shift in my perspective through this experience of mind has made me a better problem solver and supporter.

What’s been on my mind lately is what life is going to be like after I beat this cancer. I’m nervous, scared – but I’d say I’m mostly curious and dare I say, excited? In my last appointment with my oncologist in the middle of a little breakdown – he had mentioned that it’s common for people to find the part after treatment (or “Survivorship”) to be the most difficult. It’s not as easy and straight forward as “Woooo! I beat cancer! That was exhausting Ok, life – carry on now” Check out this video on the complexity of survivorship planning:

While just like every part of this chapter in my life has been – things have been unpredictable and I don’t know what life after I beat this cancer is going to look like – some of the few things I am certain about include that:

  • I’m goddamn superwoman now – and I still have another chunk of treatment to go. I can handle anything after this.
  • I’m over the glamorization of stress and being busy. Yes, it’s a glamourized, “sexy” and addictive.
  • I have learned so much about people, communication, love, faith, humanity and relationships.
  • There is always much more to be grateful for than there is to not be .
  • I have a better understanding of who has earned to be in my life.
  • Stress is driven by ego.
  • Meditation is insanely powerful.
  • Practicing gratitude every single day is so healthy.
  • People can change.
  • Humans are so interesting.

While I’m not sure what life is going to look like once I beat this cancer (I’m still focusing on the beating it part) – I can tell you that I feel a certain shift happening. It’s going to be great 🙂 If this sounds like the way you feel, that’s a good thing. We all preach it – but we really should be living in the present and contributing to and taking in life day by day. I used to preach it all the time, but I didn’t know what it was really like until this chapter of mine. It’s definitely one nugget of learning I’ll be applying in to my life forever.

P.S. I started noticing some freckles on my nose! There’s been so many changes to my skin from chemotherapy.

IMG_20140710_235006

First time freckles on my nose. To those of you who complain about your freckles – we match now. And I kind of like them! Also, look. I have some lashes now. They started growing back! Before I had 7 on one eye and 5 on the other. Now, there are too many to count – and I’m so thrilled! I’m hoping my next chemotherapy session doesn’t knock them out again. Eyebrows are almost all gone though. Thank goodness for the incredible eyebrow pencils my friend Cheryl bought for me from Asia! The best brow pencils I’ve ever used.


Resources on Life After Cancer:
[VIDEO] Wallstreet Journal Life After Cancer Poses Daunting Challenges
Canadian Cancer Society Life After Cancer
MacMillan Cancer Support Adjusting to Life After Cancer

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