Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Check that box

This weekend I had to be reminded about celebrating my cancer victory.  I know, can you believe it?  The H-bomb was oblivious to possibly the best reason in her history for a mega-celebration.  No, it is not because the 7 mm lung node is bothering me.  It's not, and I'm pretty sure I hacked it up last Thursday anyway.  I think celebrating my lack of cancer did not occur to me because I have eagerly moved on with my life.

With the cancer diagnosis came an intense need to beat it, and during chemotherapy that turned into the present tense of "beating it".  I continued to work on beating cancer through surgery and radiation, right up through last week's PET scan results.  And I will always work on beating my cancer.  I am keenly aware of the possibility that my beaten cancer is temporary.  It is relatively likely (I seem to recall reading that there's a 40% chance of recurrence for inflammatory breast cancer) to come back at some point, so this reservation will be in my mind during any cancer-free celebration.  I shouldn't let an uncertain future inhibit my celebrations, though.  I have enough mojo for daily celebrations, to be sure.  Perhaps ignoring the potential for recurrence has catapulted me past the celebratory phase of beating cancer and straight into my attempts to return life to normal.  

I've realized a better reason for why my celebratory sensations have been lacking:  beating cancer is accomplishing a goal that I never should have had.  I didn't aspire to get cancer so that I could beat it.  In fact, I didn't aspire to get cancer at all.  I tend to set positive, output-oriented goals, and my larger ones have included marriage, getting a PhD, and having (two beautiful) children.  Beating cancer is to eliminate a negative thing, which in a way is a double-negative, and this type of goal is very unlike me.

I think that my aversion to negativity is the primary reason that I haven't been inclined to celebrate beating cancer, trumping even latent fears of recurrence.  I think that all along I've expected myself to rush through and accomplish this goal, to beat cancer senseless, to get it out of the way of my numerous positive goals.  Even on those cold winter days, filled with fear and fatigue, I longed to return my focus to my real goals.  Beating cancer was just a distasteful, temporary goal, given to me by someone else.  Now I feel that I've dumped it off of my desk and can get on with my real jobs.

Check that box.

Speaking of positive goals, I have a sewing project that desperately needs some attention, as I am hours away from my self-set deadline (tomorrow).  I'll get to it after I finish this post and tidy the kitchen.

Did you say that I fought cancer recently?  Huh, that's amazing, because I can hardly recall...are you sure it was me?  


  1. Yes. This is so you! I'm cracking up.

  2. Makes so much sense dearest Heather.

  3. BEAT Cancer....check. Remission...check. Vacation to the Carribbean...
    Can that be next on your to-do list?
    xox Love you! Hilary

  4. As usual - you surprise and amaze me of how you go through this "yucky" process of having (and beating) cancer.

    Hope by now your sewing project is complete. I have 4 items still awaiting to be mended in a basket. Not high on my list of goals to be accomplished. I think Hilary has the right idea!

  5. I like the way you drive. Eyes on the road, not on the mirror.