Thoughts on the 5th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis.

While I'm pretty irreverent about it most of the time, sometimes I give in to introspection.
  1. Cancer turns people into walking almanacs.
    Diagnosis date, surgery date, first chemo and radiation, last chemo and radiation, NED date (hopefully)...
  2. Fear of needles? Ain't nobody got time for that.
    Also, I know which veins work; I've been a human pin cushion for 5 years. I'm a top-of-hand stick. My arm veins stop, drop, and roll. No, you aren't special, you can't make them work, just give me the damn needle, I'll do it myself.
  3. A bell rung thrice is forever changed.
    I rang it twice because my mother wanted to see me ring it but neglected to tell me that beforehand. I still have a nagging fear that I committed a bell-foul that will come back to haunt me; that next time, I won't get to ring the bell. ... Which brings me to...
  4. Yes, next time. I know there will be a next time.
    I don't know how I know, I just do.
  5. People say stupid shit.
    "Oh, but that's the *good* cancer to get, cos it's treatable." Excuse me? "But you're all better now." Physically, yes. Mentally, not so much. "It's baby-chemo." A doctor said this to me. A doctor that had never had this "baby-chemo."
  6. 5 years later, people still give me cancer-whispers.
    That low voiced, whispery inquiry: "How are you dooooing?" generally accompanied by an overly expressive face of concern.
  7. Do not taunt happy fun ball.
    I did *not* "kick cancer's ass." Let's not taunt the beast, eh? Also, I'm not a "survivor." I'm a goddamn veteran. (this is just me. We're all different.)
  8. Cancer was, and still is, an incredible litmus test for all of my relationships.
    That person I thought was my #1 ally isn't even in the stratosphere anymore. That person I met on a weird happenstance that one time is now family, to me and to my parents. A complete stranger in another part of the world is my anchor, my oracle, my guardian, my angel.
  9. Survivor's guilt. It's real and it's really shitty.
    Why me and not her? Even with people I've never met.
  10. It's a whole different level of life.
    In her diagnosis blog post, Xeni Jardin wrote "The gravity in this place is different." It is. There's a deeper level that's always there that only people who are part of this shitty club can understand. It's some really fucked up VIP access shit. And we all know there's only one way out of this club. Even if we're NED for the rest of our days, we're still card carrying members. No one gets out alive.
  11. You have to laugh when you can.
    I'm lucky enough to be able to find all sorts of absurd things in my experience. Like, how many people do you know have had a Geiger counter pointed at their crotch? The absurdity is a whole other, much more lighthearted list.
  12. Every single new diagnosis, even to strangers, still stings.
    I don't want anyone else to have to go through this shit. When I read experiences of others (lots on li.st), my heart hurts because I know. I know.
  13. I will never, ever eat salt and vinegar potato chips again.
    Ugh.