So, here I am. Not quite a cancer survivor, not exactly a cancer patient.
I’m not classified “in remission” but the primary tumor is supposedly gone. I’m lucky they caught the cancer, I’m unlucky in that my life, career trajectory, everything I thought was true, has been turned upside down.
I’m in limbo; not real sick, not exactly well either. Slowly but surely, I’m getting used to this new body. Often, I long for the days when I had cancer and felt fabulous. Yeah, I know. I only think that after a particularly bad day.
But that’s beside the point, I suppose. What bothers me the most is what has happened to my personality.
I was always a “ready, fire, aim” type person before the cancer. Now I continually second guess myself. I proceed carefully.
I sometimes find reality to be crushing, sobering, overwhelming.
Sure, my chances of five year survival are OK. Docs are watching the liver and lungs. Considering I don’t have much colon left, my chances of actual colon cancer showing up there are rather small. Now, we watch for mets.
But it’s confusing. Docs aren’t exactly skilled at communication and as I approach my second cancerversary, I’m not looking forward to reliving my cancer nightmare once again.
When I was diagnosed, docs told me if they hadn’t removed the tumor, I would be inoperable in two years, dead in five. In a month, I’ll enter year two.
Which brings me to writing.
In the past, I’ve always used copywriting to finance my fiction career. After taking a good look at the prospect of death through a Vicodin haze, I’m not sure I want to do as much copywriting anymore.
Throughout my writing career, my mantra has always been, “chase your dream, don’t compromise.” And I’ve done that… most the time.
Except now, time suddenly feels precious. I find myself avoiding various projects I used to jump at. I find myself longing to return to my roots and enter the worlds of imagination I’ve often forsaken, instead taking the safe route of financial security. But I can’t seem to do that now.
I love writing. Cherish it. I adore my characters and the worlds they inhabit. The stories they tell amaze me.
And so, today I explore. I wonder. I tentatively take a step back and become the writer I wanted to be way back in the days before surgeries, scans, slick seminars, mentors, and tumors.
I’m terrified yet far more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time. But through this, I find writing fun again. And I suppose that’s what counts, eh? I hope you join me on this interesting adventure.
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But most of all, enjoy life. Love living. Hug someone you find precious.