Today is my 10 year cancerversary. I received very special gifts which money cannot purchase but one stands out in particular. I was greeted with joyful smiles and hugs which, 10 years ago I never thought I would be around to receive. With continuous disappointment and despair constantly thrown my way, I just did not know how my future would end up.
In the past, I asked myself, would I be around for Christmas? Tears streamed down my face as I pondered the thought in my head. When Christmas came and went, I still felt unsettled. I asked myself would I be around for Emily’s sixth Grade Graduation. Emily is now a happy eighth grader. I asked myself would I be around to enjoy Alexis’10th birthday. Well, Lexis’ birthday celebration was low key but marvelous nevertheless. Her best bud Maria and her mom, whom I love to pieces, treated her to a very special memory… Alexis had her ears pierced with little sparkling gold earrings and I was there to be a part of history. Alexis’ birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year which was a double blessing for me because I was thankful not only for having my beautiful family to celebrate my life with but also celebrating my daughter’s day of birth. Thanksgiving this year really had special meaning for me. As cancer survivors and as patients we also know that with the joyful and momentous beauty and milestones we reach there is also the pain felt for those that are not as fortunate as us and are not there to join us at the dinner table. This morning, I received a beautiful white feather from none other than little Devon. December 5 was her passing, which was 4 years yesterday. Today is my 10 year survivorship, an undeniable feat in the world of cancer but for me, it is bittersweet. I make every effort to speak with those who need my support. I hold 2 masters’ degrees none of which apply to anything that I speak about or do in my life. At the end of the day, my survivorship, family, friends and service to others is really all that matters. I am lucky to have always had the innate ability to not be scared or intimidated by people in powerful positions or with a multitude of degrees, which, brings me to my next point. We see a general consensus in our culture which admonishes bullying in our schools and at the playground. Basically, suffice to say, nobody likes a bully. As I look back at my ten years of cancer survivorship, there is a whole lot of bullying going on in our oncology clinics that is not discussed. I have been bullied by many doctors and nurse care practitioners regarding treatments, in terms of alternative medicine, homeopathy, vitamin supplements and the list goes on. Just yesterday, while on my back, in an MRI machine, while completely submissive, I was forced to receive my IV for a prolonged period of time, which I never agree to. I was at the mercy of the tech and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it but embrace the moment and suck it up. If I argued, my head would move and the test would be a failure. No cancer patient should ever be bamboozled into something that she doesn’t agree with. I have opened my big mouth for the past ten years and fortunately, I am alive. I’ve been a renegade and I believe secretly respected by my doctors although they may not openly admit it. Over the past ten years, I’ve sought approval from my doctors, sometimes I look for that pat on my back but now, I don’t need anything but my daughter’s smiles, a big hug from my husband and an occasional white feather from my beloved Devon.
God Bless all of you! Keep hope alive…Sending Lhasa love from my heart to yours…jen