Categorized | Event

Today is World Cancer Day

Today – February 4 – is World Cancer Day. It is also the sixth anniversary of my 2nd cancer diagnosis – I was in 4th stage by the time they found it. My first – less serious diagnosis – was originally in 2008.

So essentially, the last nine years of my life – all of my 50’s – have been about being diagnosed, tested, treated, tracked – and repeat – and repeat – and repeat.

Since chemo ended in 2011, I have spent my time crawling out from under all of the long term – and apparently permanent – cognitive damage and nerve damage caused by chemo. All of it has been life-altering.

Most of the people whom I met during that time – or who have gotten cancer in the meanwhile – are dead now.

Needless to say, I have crossed paths with many cancer patients. Who survives and who doesn’t survive is defintely not a result of “trying harder” or “having a good attitude” or “prayers” or anything of that nature. I will not tolerate hearing that BS.

Survival is a combination of luck and the efficacy of voodoo potions dripping out of bags hung on poles and invisible high energy rays being shot into your body. That’s it.

Somehow, it worked for me, it worked for my particular circumstance.

Every year I have different feelings about how I have spent these last nine years. We are a society that has a hard time with negative emotions. We like happy endings. I cannot give you that. This year, nine years in, I feel anger. I feel grief. I feel loss. What if I had never gotten cancer – what would have been the net gain? Not sure. I will never know. That is what I am dealing with this year.

Regarding the photo….

During the weeks between my diagnosis on 2/4/2011 and the start of chemo on 2/28/2011, I would look at the bare oak tree branch that crossed in front of window at the head of the bed. I wondered if I would make it to see the tree leaf out. Never had my life looked that fragile, never had I been in a position where my time on this earth could be counted out in such short increments.

When I left for my third chemo early one Monday morning in March, the tree was bare. When I returned three days later – this had happened. I got out of the car, looked up, and took the photo. I could not believe it. Magically, there were leaves everywhere.

I had made it.

Today – and every day – there are thousands of people in homes, in hospitals, in hospices, and everywhere in between, fighting their own bodies for survival. All in hopes of getting one more day. I think of them all the time. Because I was one of them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have stood by me all these years and who continue to do so. I am not the person I was – and I often miss that person. There are many times that I am not particularly fond of the person I am now.

However – no matter who I am – none of you have ever left my side. You continue to give me support, help, housing, jobs, friendship, and love. It is appreciated more than I can ever express in words and actions. I can never repay and for that I am deeply humbled.

I love you all. Daphne.

oak tree

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