Sitting in the oncology waiting room is still as stressful as ever. Anytime I'm there, I can see the fear and worry on people's faces. It never fails to remind me of the times when I was so anxious I couldn't breathe. Even though I feel stronger than ever, both mentally and physically, there is still an element of anxiety and fear that cancer might return, but thankfully, I have learned to manage it a little better.
I was fortunate to be told I am still well today, and that is amazing news. I was also told that I will mostly likely have appointments for another decade. The sheer volume of radiation I had during treatment can cause side effects up to 10 years afterward. Having gone through it, this doesn't shock or even worry me today. I suppose I was just slightly disappointed not to be cured or over the remission hump. That's OK, though; I am very equipped to nurture my body, and hearing these hard facts today reinforces the need to be mindful of how I eat, exercise, and manage stress.
Before my last oncology appointment, I wrote a goodbye letter to cancer. I thought I was going to be told I was "cured" or out of remission. Even though I was disappointed to hear that I might not get to say goodbye for 10 years or ever, I would still like to share this letter. It is a reflection of the life lessons I have learned since having cancer and how cancer has given me the strength to thrive.
I am exceptionally fortunate to be able to write this today. Cancer has affected many friends and family over recent years, and I will never take my experience for granted. I dedicate this letter to all those who have lost their lives to cancer and for all those currently fighting to stay well.
You shocked me to the core, twice. I had never felt pain like this before. It was devastatingly heartbreaking, but I stood tall and was prepared to do whatever it took. And here I am, stronger than ever. Today I learned that I might not ever get to say goodbye to you; however, I want to express my gratitude for the many lessons you taught me along the way.
These words of gratitude are not praise for your existence in my life but rather a chance for me to show you that I am stronger today than you ever were.