Written November 21, 2014
A year ago today I received my 6th and final chemo infusion. One breast, hairless head to toe, fatigued, sore and emotionally drained, I was fed up with being a cancer patient. The light at the end of the tunnel seemed almost out of view.
Now a year later, the anniversary has passed uneventfully with the usual mix of entertaining teenagers, both off for a PA day, addressing client emails and meeting a deadline for my Humber creative writing course; yet the entire time I quietly celebrated that I am no longer a patient. I question however, if I will ever stop fully being a patient in my head, as the role has profoundly changed who I am, and how I now approach my life.
As a cancer patient there was a sense of achievement and pride as I met and endured each treatment milestone, although I struggled with the lack of control over the present and future state of my health, it forced me to look hard, at my own mortality, an utterly terrifying notion to me. My body had been hijacked by cancer and I was at the mercy of this invisible enemy that only medical professionals had the intelligence to fight. People whom I barely knew suddenly became the guardians of my future, leveraging the weapons needed to attack my body, which I so desperately wanted to regain control of.
Today I am healthy, which I believe wholeheartedly is because I was a compliant patient, an obedient soldier taking orders and blindly trusting that I would be led to victory. I learned some valuable lessons though along the way: one to BREATHE deeply and to accept that I had little control over anything but my thoughts and desire to get well; and secondly, I learned that I had to SLOW down. Life I have learned is not about getting to the finish line, it is about letting the chapters slowly unfold. I won’t dwell on the future possibility of becoming a patient once again, but I will embrace whatever comes my way, with more strength, wisdom and patience.