I wrote the following in response to an article we were discussing on WhatNext. If you want to read the article, you can find it at http://www.curetoday.com/community/bonnie-annis/2016/04/as-a-cancer-survivor-making-the-choice-to-get-busy-living. It is titled, “As a Cancer Survivor, Making the Choice to Get Busy Living”
I have been interviewed several times lately and the interviewer always wants to know how it felt to be told I had stage IV lung cancer with an estimated 4 months to live. I always feel like my answer disappoints them on some level.
My husband and I discussed how we were going to face this as we were driving to my mom’s house to break the cancer news. We both agreed that we were going to make it a “no big deal” thing to her.
That’s what we did. And, that’s how we lived. I never gave up life. There were times during chemo when I gave up a few days while fighting the worst of the side effects, but those days were limited.
My oncologist could not believe that I wanted to know if I could keep playing agility with my dogs, but I never quit. I might have missed a class here or there, but we didn’t leave the sport.
Most of my local friends have totally forgotten that I have stage IV lung cancer. I was at church the other day with a friend who told me another cancer survivor was joining us. She gently explained that I might want to curb some of my exuberance for life because this girl has a late stage cancer…
She was so dumbfounded when I reminded her that I do too!!!
As it turns out the girl who joined us is a lot like me. She is a runner and refused to give up her running. The hospital has been attaching all sorts of electrodes to her and a team follows her while she runs. They are monitoring how the exercise impacts her and her cancer. I have not gotten an update on her, but she told us that she expected to be getting a NED diagnosis the following week!!!
I feel like I alienate some people who are fighting cancer (or however a person wants to term it) because I have chosen to live life. I told the interviewer that cancer has made me nearly frantic to keep my calendar full of activities that I love to do. Down days are something I try not to have.
Because I stay so busy doing things I love to do, I forget for long periods of time that I have cancer. I have cancer, it doesn’t have me. I hope it never will.