Saturday, January 7, 2012

Isn't Cancer Supposed to Be Life-Changing? | Halifax, NS, Breast Cancer Survivor

At least, isn't that what you hear?  People have cancer, they survive, and they discover they weren't living their life's dream, that they're only human and the end could come at any time, that they need to kick things up a notch.  And then they do.  They kick it up, they live their dream, they change things and make it better.

I sit here, more than a year after being diagnosed.  Living the exact same life I had before diagnosis, wondering where my change is.  I know that I've come through this incredible thing, that I've beat this cancer, but ohmyGod I need to be living my dream!  It's in my head every day.  And I know my cancer journey is not over... I need to be checked regularly, the breast cancer could come back, a new cancer could come, I could be hit by a bus; at any time, I could be facing my immortality once again.  So where is my change??  Why am I living the same life I was living before cancer?  I want excitement.  I want to inspire people and share my story.  I want to change someone else's life.  I want to live the dream!

But then I realized... my life has changed.

Before I found the lump, Jason and I were just starting to fall in love.  When tragedy strikes, it brings people together.  We would most certainly have created a bond regardless, but cancer cemented it in record time.

I feel more closely connected to my family and friends.  My blog and facebook updates were cathartic for me during treatments.  I needed to share my story with my peeps.  And they read, they commented, they lifted me up.  A year later and I'm still sharing, they're still commenting, and still lifting me up.  I feel more connected to the people around me, me sharing with them and them sharing with me.  Surrounding yourself with good people is important and I feel like I've hit the lottery with that one.

Have I changed someone else's life?  I doubt it, not yet.  But I aim to do that, to keep plugging away at what I'm doing, to make someone else's cancer struggle just a little easier, to make someone else's life struggle just a little lighter.  Not knowing if I've had an impact on anyone else just inspires me to keep at it, maybe it will be years down the road, or maybe, just maybe, it's small changes for lots of people.  Who knows how any one of us impacts another?

I don't feel like I'm "living the dream" just yet, but I know I am happy.  Deliriously, joyously happy.  That is my change.  The dream, the excitement, they will come, but the happiness?  That is the win.

email:  karenk{at}

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