I get it. I understand it. I have lived it. I have experienced it. I have witnessed it. IT has changed me forever.
I remember when one of my favorite mom's asked if living in Cancer World had changed me in any way. I had not thought about the changes. While your child is in treatment, there is so much else to think about; so many things to do; so much to worry about. You are running faster than you ever imagined you could run. It is overwhelming and more than you can ever imagine. Recently I have been thinking about it, a lot.
There are lots of losses balanced by gains. No one wants to hear about the losses. I have stopped counting the times I have read the long slow creep towards death that many children make. Death is a reality for many children. The longer you are around Cancer World, the more loss there is. It makes me less than enthusiastic about the success stories. When a family announces the last dose of chemo, the finish of radiation, remission, end of treatment, the end..... of __________. I shudder a bit. I stick that bit of knowledge in the back of brain with a reminder to check back in a couple of years, and then in five years and then.... Relapse and the terror of a Bone Marrow Transplant.
I just get it. I want lots of remission/success stories. I bet there are more than we know, but we don't hear about them. There is a group of families that just finish treatment, have a party and go on with life. They know they are lucky and are not bragging about it.
The Relapse/Secondary Cancer Gang is loud and vocal. It is necessary because if you believe you are scared the first time, the second time is over the top. It is not like a Relapse is getting a C. Relapse if an F. It is hard to come back from it. You need lots and lots of A's to make up for an F. Unlike college if you flunk you can take the same class again. If you fail Algebra II, they don't make you take Calculus 4.
In Cancer World, they bring out bigger and nastier forms of treatment. Things they don't want to use unless absolutely necessary. The Nuclear Bombs and other sorts of weapons of Mass Destruction. Who knew there were so many ways to kill.
As I sit here in year 11, I am beginning to forget what life used to be like when it was "Normal." I don't recognize the landscape of my life in any ...way. I see glimpses of it when I run into people I knew from before. I am beginning to realize I have made an impact on people's lives in mostly good ways. I was downtown and went to Cafe Zum Zum. I walked in, and the owner looked at me and started to scope up my favorite. He then chided me for my long absence, telling me he was still smoking because I had not been around to give him a hard time.
It made me smile. While much has changed, change is part of life. It is well past time I explore this new landscape. When the
I get it.