On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Coping with cancer

Our community has a couple cancer groups and I attended one regularly when I was first diagnosed.  The group was warm and friendly and certainly helpful to me and others who were struggling with a scary initial diagnosis.  Over ten years later, some of the membership is still present, some have died, and new people have joined.

After I was in remission for a few years I stopped participating.  There were two reasons - I no longer wanted so much of my identity to be wrapped up in cancer and I was working at Juvenile Hall on the meeting days and always had to leave early.  The group continued to be warm and friendly and helpful to newcomers who were struggling, but I wasn't there to help out or to enjoy my friends.

Now I see the group - and myself - differently.  I still work a few hours at Juvenile Hall, but not on Wednesday, the group's meeting day.  And now that I've relapsed and had another round of cancer and chemotherapy I know I have to identify myself with the cancer because that's the reality.  Remission is nice while it lasts, but it isn't likely to last forever.  

And so, today, I was back after years of absence, but welcomed all the same.  We went to lunch first - several spouses joined us - and then trooped off to the meeting.  We meet twice a month.  Sometimes the discussions are deeply serious, sometimes it's purely social, but always we are assured that there's no one else who understands more clearly what has happened to us and how we are coping and how we can encourage one another.

I looked forward to the meeting all week, am glad I went, and plan to continue attending.  I'm coping with cancer, that's my truth.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard that's the case but everyone needs to hope they'll be the exception and there are some. It's really nice you could fall right back into the group. The new reality will become more comfortable with a bit of time.


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