What’s that thing over there with my name on it?

It surely isn’t mine…but why is my name on it? People with cancer are those slightly defeated looking faces on TV commercials, with happy, supportive people all around them. People with cancer are the frail humans that sad movies are made about. Not me!
Face it, when you first find out you have cancer, it doesn’t seem real. Call it denial, doesn’t matter. You are going from a life of worrying about work, family events, social schedule, home repairs to a new normal that is hyper focused on saving your life. Yes, I said it, you are saving your life. Clear your calendar delegate your duties, sounds selfish but your new focus is on you.
Why do they say it hits everyone differently? Deep sadness is a guarantee. How you pick yourself up and how long you stay in the sad phase is up to you. So, yes, that thing over there (cancer) with your name on it, is yours. You don’t have to wear it everyday, you don’t have to carry it with you everywhere, you can put it away for most of your day and focus on the people, interests and activities you enjoy.
I often laugh at myself, because even though my cancer is quite serious and some would think it is always on my mind, I will have a friend stop and ask me how my condition is. I kind of jolt for a quick second as I switch gears, as I quickly remind myself they must be asking about my cancer (not if my tennis rating will be changing, due to my super-human performance on court this year – haha, or how I’m dealing with my last child about to move out of the house…). They want to know what’s new on the cancer homefront. Oh yeah…I’ve got cancer….ummm…what tests did I just have, or what am I about to have…quick…say something so you don’t look like a complete ding dong. Honestly, it’s usually just not the first thing on my mind. Admittedly, sometimes it is, though.
I think the turning point for me was after I educated myself. Once I understood what I have, how I may have contracted it (I sure don’t like the cop-out “bad luck”), and that there is hope for me, I started to educate myself. Education moved me out of the sad phase. How about you?

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