Monday, June 11, 2012

Relay afterthoughts

I realized that I didn't make the point I intended to make in my previous post, which is that every cancer patient's path is unique.

Many people don't even know there is more than one kind of breast cancer (I had three types of tumors...based on where they started and where they spread. There are also classifications based on how the tumors respond to estrogen, and so on.)

I now have a collection of shirts in various shades of pink with Komen logos and a purple ACS Survivor shirt and even one with "the chemo made me do it" on it. (Honestly that is the one I like best... I had fun wearing that when I was bald. It made people laugh WITH ME, which is how I wanted to go about things. )

I am often reluctant to wear the others, and draw random people's attention to the fact that I had cancer. It's behind me to some degree... except for the checkups and tamoxifen. And I don't want people to project their impressions or emotions on me or place me in some classification in their head that has nothing to do with who I really am. I am not the Boobie poster child.

The internal dilemma is that I sometimes need people to understand that part of my personal history, but I don't want to lose my WHOLE identity and just be The Girl Who Had Breast Cancer.

I wanted to circle the track in solitude at one point around 5 am, and this one woman was going the opposite way around and high-fiving EVERYONE. Every time around. It got annoying... I had finally made a tentative peace with the whole setting, and she knocked me off balance again by wanting me to fit HER mold of what Relay should be like.

Don't invade my experience. And I think that's part of my frustration overall with the event. Don't tell me I should tell my story and sob, ...because parts of it are funny, like the way I used to fall asleep on the radiation table.

And each person's experience is different. Their ability to let go of the bad stuff, to feel proud of the victory, to face the ongoing anxiety and other fallout....no two people are the same and it's not necessarily cathartic or empowering to go to a Relay.

To each her own.

1 comment:

meopta said...

I wonder how your daughter's BF will process this when he is older. Ot's obviously important to his mother that they are Cancer Family and part of the Cancer Community - but Cancer is enough. It is enough all on its own. Having to join a sorority you never pledged is more than I can do.