I Didn't Ask For This!

I don't think anyone "asks" for cancer but sometimes I want to scream from the roof tops...."I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS". Those given the diagnosis of cancer do the best they can, some people write about it, others start nonprofits or speak to fellow fighters/survivors and then there are those who try to shut the door on that chapter of their lives. But no matter how someone deals with their cancer there is no "right" path that will make it all better.

How does one really come to terms with the fact that they have cancer? This is not a rhetorical question I really want to know. Some days are better than others but mostly its still a battle. What would I be doing right now if I had never had cancer? Who would I be? What job would I have? Would there be a little Meaghan running around? Would I be married? What state would I be living in? Would I still have a normal sex drive? Would I be complaining about my period instead of trying to figure out what menopause is? Most importantly would I be happy?

I'll never know the answers to these questions and I am not looking for anyone to console me I just need to ask them out loud. These questions, and many more, go through my head like a song on repeat. I know there are many cancer fighters and survivors who feel the same way and that's why I am writing this post. I know its very personal and that's scary but I don't want you to feel alone or be afraid to ask the same questions out loud.

So many of us put on a brave face when we tell our stories. People look up to us as though we are strong or have some type of cancer fighting super power. I wish that was true but we are just like those who never heard, "You have cancer" The only difference is we were given something no one wants, we fought it and for some of us we won. But we are still regular people who have fears, hopes and dreams.

Cancer SUCKS and that never goes away even if you get a clear PET scan! You can never go back in time and change things and maybe our lives would not have been better off or even that different but those questions are still haunting. Its important for people to understand that cancer is an ongoing battle with good days, bad days, normal days and frustrating days.  Life makes us who we are, shapes us and gives us character even those things in life we did not ask for.


@chemo_babe said...

here's the deal: crap happens in life, whether it's cancer or car accidents or earthquakes or financial markets melting down. for some of us, cancer is the crap that we have to deal with. i am not making light of it, and i am certainly empathetic to wanting to return to a "normal" self. but it is a myth to imagine that a life can exist that doesn't have some major obstacle in it that can turn everything upside down.

instead of focusing on trying to get my old life back or focusing on what things would have been without cancer, i am trying to integrate this experience and understand that this is the hand i have been dealt. i am not happy about it. i get mad sometimes. but i think there are better ways to spend my energy than on how things are supposed to be (as in without this friggin diagnosis around my neck).

my heart goes out to you, meaghan. i definitely feel your pain. i'm probably writing this toughlove note as much to myself as i am to you, but there it is.

Meaghan said...

Thank you for the message I definitely appreciate it! Most day's im pretty strong about it but sometimes I just feel like, wow this sucks!

I do think there are many great things in my life because of my diagnosis. I understand myself, life and whats important on a level I never thought I could reach. But, from time to time I just want to throw my hands up and be angry at what happened.

Thank you so much and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your pep talk :)

@Facelesscog said...

I have to agree with @Chemo_babe on this. After I woke up from the surgery to have my tumor removed, I was paralyzed from the waist down. I struggled for a long time with the thought of getting "back to normal," but what's helped me the most is realizing that there's no going back to the old normal. Rather, you have to work for and move towards a "new normal."

I have learned a lot about myself, my family and my friends during this ordeal, and while it was hell to go through, it's not all negative.

I hope you are able to get through these tough times and find your new normal, as are we all. If it means anything, I'm always happy to lend an ear if you're looking for someone to complain or talk to.

Pseudo said...

Thinking of you and sending my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post.

I'm not going through chemo or radiation but I'm still living with cancer.

I have constant reminders of it daily.

No boob, menopause, long-term side effects, and my new thing? Pain. Lots of pain.

It finally dawned on me that most of the pain is concentrated in the areas where I received radiation therapy.

It's weird. I wish life could go back to normal, but for some us, that is not gonna happen.

You do your best, but I do wish others (non-cancer persons) would not expect and say things like: "Oh well you're in remission or you're not going through chemo, so now it's time to get back on track."

Some do, some don't. Please be accepting of EITHER way.

Eileen said...

Hi Meaghan. I haven't experienced cancer, but I think it's normal to have those questions and be angry or sad and question why. I didn't feel your post was an "oh woe is me." I felt your message was a support of "you're not alone if you feel this way." chemo babe and facelesscog are right, too ~ it's the new normal. Life is never normal after any devastating event, but you've found strength and a new voice to battle cancer. Your title says it all "I Kicked Cancer's Ass." It's positively perfect!

Happy SITS Sunday! Have a great week! :)

o2bhiking said...

I really enjoyed your post, Meaghan. I know it has been really difficult. I have been very lucky with my experience. Six months of chemo, no missing body parts, no tremendous pain, and all in the past. I could use it as a way to learn new things about myself and to learn and grow without some of the extreme suffering that so many others go through. I feel for anyone who has gone through the things that you have had to experience.

Life is not fair. Good people go through lots of bad things. I have a friend right now who at age 40 is going through his fourth bout with cancer. Just last week he had surgery for the melanoma in two areas and lost part of his left foot and two toes. He is a fellow marathoner, and also a triathlete and century bike rider. I got a feeling that he will move on once again and will get a special running shoe and run again. He is a good person, and for some reason cancer has just decided to really focus on him.

No one asks for cancer, or earthquakes, or car accidents, or MS, or ALS. It sucks when they happen to people though - that is for sure. Art

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

I am working on a new project that I am very excited about. I am writing a book about the cancer blogging phenomenon - its scope, aspirations, and reasons for being. I plan to highlight some of the best writing from our blogging community.
As I have previously published your writing in my weekly Guest Post feature at Being cancer, networking people transformed by cancer, I am hoping to get your preliminary permission to "Cancer Sucks" in the book. I will, of course, give full credit as well as link information. I would also like to arrange for all contributors to receive complimentary copies.
I have not yet secured a publishing contract. But I want to get started compiling some chapters prior to submitting my proposal to a publisher. So if this sounds like something you might be interested in being a part of, please contact me by email. I will be able to tell you the specific posts I am interested in. Please include off-blog contact information. Also include the name of your blog in the email.

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN

Sjn said...

Clean scans mean 3 more months of "normalcy". Until the week before the next scan, than the scanxiety, the test, the results, and the cycle begins again. I did graduate once to a 6 month scan, only to find a lung nodule at the next checkup, and 3 months later Thoracic surgery. My fights have been surgery only, b/c there is no chemo found to do any good as yet. Except for cancer, I am otherwise blessed. I have a good life, I just want to keep it.