This is a question that is at the forefront of my mind almost each and every second. This question lives right beside the other biggie that I deal with… will cancer return or when will it return?
I have been silent in my blogging for bit, I honestly don’t know why. I guess because maybe I am at a crossroads? Does that make sense? I don’t think so but it’s the best reason I can come up with at the moment.
I am now 4 weeks post surgery. Both incisions have healed nicely on the outside. The inside healing is still a work in progress. I realize that I will never feel the same in my abdominal region and will always struggle with certain internal feelings that I really can’t describe other than tightness, soreness, fatigued or tired muscle feelings, it’s just plain weird and I feel different day to day. I am not complaining at all, I am alive and at the moment cancer is un-detectable. This is the greatest gift of all.
So now what? I guess I just put on my big girl panties and adjust best I can to normal life. Here is another question. What is normal? I don’t think I ever knew what normal was even before cancer. My brain has always been in work mode. The term “work” has taken an entirely different direction though. Work now consists of research, reading and more reading, health books, internet articles, other survivor’s (and non-survivors) personal blogs, etc. I am focused on working hard and earning a huge pay cheque. That pay cheque is payable only in good health points! I have an appointment with a naturopath doctor next week. My intention is to work on prevention now. Kind of doing things backwards… stage 4 diagnosis and then prevention, but I don’t believe it’s ever too late to fight cancer. I’m just taking the long hard path like I do most other things… but I don’t make the same error twice.
Next week I also go to visit my oncologist for a check up. I haven’t seen her for a few months. I imagine she will take a double take look at me, like many other people do lately. I just look so different. I still surprise myself each time I look in the mirror. I say… ooh. who is that chick? I actually think I look healthy. Wow that’s hard to admit. But why? I have worked so hard to get to this point. To date my hair is growing nicely. I got a free natural perm with chemotherapy. It is growing in quite curly… I joke and call my head my own personal chia pet. It’s coming in thicker (some stubborn greys have re-appeared) and of course it’s my natural colour. Dark brunette. I was a blonde before chemo. I am told I look younger now too. Okay, I’ll take it! I learned yesterday that my weight loss of 52 lbs so far is exactly what my nephew Austin weighs. I think when I am strong enough I am going to try to piggy back him around the block in my neighbourhood. Just to give me a reminder of why I should not seek solice in a bag of Doritos any more.
I wonder if we would use our health cards more often if every time we swiped our cards we earned bonus points for air miles, or free product or special discounts? We are so lucky here in Canada to have access to practically any test we need… for free! All we have to do is ask a doctor to make us an appointment. Colon cancer in particular is 90% preventable and curable if caught early. I just can’t wrap my head around how colon cancer is the #2 non-survived cancer? It’s simply because we aren’t getting tested. I feel I need to do something to bring awareness but what can I do as one single person with a sad/happy story to share? I wish it was as simple as making it a “mandatory” test at a certain age no matter if you have family history or symptoms or whatever. Just think… how many lives would be saved? I too am guilty of not getting tested. At age 39 cancer just wasn’t part of my vocabulary. I had my whole life ahead of me. SURPRISE! However if I knew someone who battled the disease personally I may have booked a screening and paid more attention to it.