The Truth About Being A Cancer Survivor


                     

Everyone says that time heals all wounds, for the longest time I didn't believe in that, it all depends on the depth of your wound, not all wounds are the same, neither is the healing process. Every year on September 12th I reflect on the day I found out I had cancer over a decade ago. I remember the long and grueling battle, I remember the tears, the laughs and the people that shared both with me. 
Unless you have fought your own battle or have watched someone close to you, you can't possibly understand the road many cancer survivors have gone through to kick cancer to the curb. Yes, of course you know about the nausea, fatigue and hair loss that comes from chemotherapy and radiation, I think that every "cancer movie" covers those perfectly, but your hair is not the only thing that falls out, what about the nails, eyelashes and eyebrows, and who knows what else. No one talks about how yellow your skin turns before it completely peels off, how much weight you may gain or loose, the scars, the scars and the SCARS you have to live with and explain for the rest of your life. All of a sudden you may have strangers bathing you and making it to the bathroom on time feels like winning a marathon. Not remembering who came to visit you or what happened yesterday because of all of the drugs that are constantly pumped into you, doesn't even phase you anymore. Sleeping through the night is a concept you hardly remember because you either are awoken by a nightmare, a nurse drawing your blood for the 100th time that day, or the fact that you are soaked in sweat (another drug side effect). How about the time it takes you to make up for lost times after you do go into remission, or the time you loose going to doctor's appointments every month, 3 months, 6 months, every year. These are all things that may or may not come with a cancer diagnosis, and yes being a survivor is a blessing considering the alternative, but the word remission doesn't miraculously erase the trauma you have gone through to hear that word, or the depression that many survivors go through for years after their diagnosis. 

As time has passed I always wondered if I will ever forget about September 12th and the battle that followed this day, not for the sake of erasing the memory, but rather for the sake of healing. This year I received my answer, September 12th was just an ordinary Friday, filled with morning traffic, work and the regular celebration of the weekend. This day was so ordinary that I did not even remember, yet alone reflect on what this day once used to symbolize so vividly. You can find thousands of articles on how to deal with a cancer diagnosis, but I have yet to read one that actually helps on how to get past being a survivor. I will forever consider every new year as a milestone, a journey that I personally don't regret, but also don't wish on anyone else. Time has finally healed my wounds, but I know that my scars will always remind me of my journey and I am okay with that.

I dedicate this post to all survivors and of course all of those who have shared this experience with me, especially my parents, friends, my UNC family, and Catie B Photography for these amazing pictures! ❤️M




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