Well today marks the day I used to celebrate being a cancer survivor. To be honest, I don’t know that I should celebrate anymore. I mean I haven’t had a recurrence or anything but it just seems like it’s wrong to celebrate. Apologize…this may be a little dark…I blame what seems to be the never ending days of rain.
So six years ago I told myself it (November 30th) was the first day of the rest of my life. I survived the worst thing I thought could happen besides losing my parents or my husband. I survived surgery, chemo, and more surgery. I thought my life would change forever and I’d have a different outlook, a more positive outlook. I thought I would finally know my purpose and what I was supposed to do with my life. Spoiler alert – I don’t. I thought the chemo would not only take my hair but it would give me the magic I needed to figure out the meaning of my life. I figured if I could survive cancer, I could survive anything. I also figured it would change my attitude. Another spoiler alert – it hasn’t. I think I’m the same person I was before cancer.
Recently, I was in a group of folks where we were asked to share ‘our story’. As I’ve done in the past, I started by saying I was a cancer survivor and I try to live my life to the fullest by staying active, healthy and trying to do my best at everything. One of the other ladies was also a cancer survivor too but she clearly pointed out that she doesn’t like to call herself a survivor. She said she didn’t like that terminology and doesn’t think of herself as a survivor. At that moment, I don’t know that I thought of myself any other way for the last six years. Her comments and views made me think about the word ‘survivor.’ I’ll admit, I probably use it as an excuse or crutch so that people will understand a little bit more about me and why I’m have a tendency to be direct and lack patience. I figure as soon as I say I survived cancer they’ll understand that I’m just trying to get the most out of life and I don’t have time to get caught up in all the emotions that come with communicating. But I think I’ve finally realized, people don’t get that. Not. at. all.
After I heard that other woman, I was curious what others thought of me so I asked my hubby if he considered me a survivor. He responded that he sees me as me…not someone who went through cancer that one time. Interesting. He sees me as me. I think it was probably the best thing he’s ever said to me. I know some folks think I’m stronger because I went through it but it doesn’t make me a super hero or anything special really. Just like the hubby said, I’m still me. I still struggle with stuff just like everyone else. I’m human and I make mistakes, a lot of them. I guess what I’m getting at is cancer didn’t make me better so why should I celebrate surviving it.
On my way into work, I listen to a podcast occasionally. This particular podcast was about ‘Who are you? and Where are you going?’ I was caught off guard, I wasn’t expecting to hear questions like that or to even contemplate those questions. But I thought about them all day and how I would answer. Who am I exactly? Well first of all, I’m like and do a lot of things but doesn’t mean I need to give myself a new title. For now, I want to focus on just being me and not worrying about any title that I give myself or that others give me. Trying to keep it simple. I’m me. I’m Becca or Rebecca (but never Becky). Where am I going? I haven’t a clue but I hope the sun is shining. I do know I’ve been a lot of places and I still have places to see.