Cancer is on my mind this morning. For me, that is not a real unusual thing, being a survivor. As time goes by, it seems there are times I can forget, a little, for a moment.
But not today. Yet another friend has been diagnosed with cancer. It makes me want to cry, to scream. Not another one, God, please not another one! It hits the young and the old and everyone in between. It does not discriminate.
I have already been reminded too often that October is upon us in a couple of days and it is of course, Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many feel it is just a month for a money grab and maybe it is. I truly think it should be just cancer awareness month. There are too many forms of it out there, too many people living with it and dying from it. Friends, family, acquaintances, people we read about. I remember the first couple years after being diagnosed, I could hardly stand to be around a television during October. I would scream at it-ENOUGH! I got tired of hearing how I was now a statistic. I am a mom, wife, person, remember? Not a number.
Today, even though I could go on and on about the awareness subject, I want to talk about how cancer reaches out and gets its grasp on all of us. Not just those of us who are survivors or those that are now battling it, or even those who are now gone. I have too many of the latter in my life-loved ones gone too soon because of cancer.
When you are diagnosed, it is different for you than those around you. You are the one battling it and although your loved ones, your friends are there for you, you are the only one that knows your battle inside and what it is like. But when you are diagnosed, cancer seems to get a grasp on you and not let go. You would think 12 years later, it would be easy. It is not. Reminders are everywhere. The physical ones, stories, tv, October. Every check up you are terrified, hopeful, and if you are lucky, thankful. Some are not. It changes everything about your life. It did teach me that life is too short and you need to be happy and go out and live! Some of us join the cause to fight and some of us like to be around to help others who go through it after you. (That is why I wrote my book on it. I took my online journal and personal journals and combined them along with things I remembered, trying to tell it like it really was, hoping to help others.)
What about the grasp it has on others? My children were forever changed that day I told them. How can you be a young person, a 10 year old girl and not be changed when your mom says she has cancer? You can’t. It changes their world at that moment. Forever. Even their health history will always be affected. I found it changed how some treated me. I heard I love you from my mom for the first time, but we shouldn’t wait until a loved one is in a crisis to say it. We should always tell them. Every day.
Every time I hear about a friend diagnosed, it devastates me. It makes me angry. I think of what they will have to go through. I think how unfair it is. I have told many to take it not only one day at a time, but sometimes, one hour at a time!
So what about our families? Our friends? Not one of them will ever be the same. I hope that no matter what, they find some joy in each day. Sometimes it can be such a little thing, but the little things can add up!
If you or someone you know has been affected by a cancer diagnosis, remember that there is good from it. There may be times when you won’t feel it, but there will always be good from it. You may never know the impact you have on someone. But that grasp that always has a hold on us? It is still there for me and I can’t see that changing. Sometimes the grasp is strong. Sometimes it isn’t-I like to think at those times it is because my loved ones and friends are holding my hands and my heart in theirs!