First Sunday of June is celebrated as National Cancer Survivor’s Day. Let us do something special for all the Braveheart’s who survived to live this day each year and remember those who unfortunately lost the battle.
The diagnosis of cancer dominates your life for so long, when treatment is over it takes a while to get back into your regular routine. One finds their anniversary of being diagnosed with a time of mixed emotions. They are thrilled to have made it another year of being cancer-free, yet they are also reminded of the anguish they went through.
Cancer can change the pattern of relationships outside the family as well as those within. Friends may not have kept in touch for a variety of reasons. Now, people might not know how to respond to a change in how you look or may avoid you so they don’t have to think about the possibility of your death or be reminded that we all must die someday. Some people may shy away from you and not know how to talk to you. Know that if you’re open to talking about your experience with cancer, they may feel more comfortable, too.
The most difficult thing for me as a survivor is having a ‘history’. Any aches or pains may result in numerous tests. I am a runner for almost a decade now and had pain in the abdomen leading to a lot of restlessness and an appointment with the doctor as well. I was very fortunate that it was not cancer by any means and just a muscle pull and probably I just needed some rest and not push myself too hard. Getting back to the normal activities of life, especially running, was the greatest therapy for me. When I was diagnosed, I just wanted to get the surgery and treatment behind me so that I could get on with my life. Although I never dwell on my situation or the possible outcomes, the thought that this disease could come and take me at any time comes and leaves me often. I can’t keep myself from thinking these thoughts and I do make a conscious effort to think positive, make plans for the future, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise.
There was life before cancer and there is life after cancer, I cannot say I wish it didn’t happen because I have learnt so much out of it. Cancer was just a chapter in the life and not the complete story.
Having said that please make June 5 (coming Sunday) memorable for any cancer survivor or fighter you know; be it a family member, a friend or a colleague. Celebrate this beautiful gift of life with them. Do something that makes them happy and privileged.