I've already touched on the fact that I am a cancer survivor. I actually wrote most of the first draft of "Song Magick" while recovering from my first surgery, a strange but satisfying fact. Chemo does bizarre things to your brain, and mine seemed to thrive on the chemical cocktail it had been fed in strange and wonderful ways.
Lately, though, I've been finding myself less and less compelled to define myself as a "cancer survivor". It' s defined me for so long - almost 9 years now- that I'm starting to feel a little rebellious and sick of the whole thing. Every time one of my doctors starts in with a solemn, "Because of your medical history..." I feel the urge to scream in frustration, "Screw my medical history! What about my medical present? My medical future?"
As I've been starting to focus on defining myself as an author (in addition to defining myself as a daughter, wife, mother, and hospice nurse), I've been moving farther away from the survivor part of me, and more toward the LIVING part. It must be kind of like a mid-life crisis. Right now I just want to pretend it doesn't exist. As a health care professional, you always face the specter of burnout, and I wonder if I'm not having a form of survivor burnout.
In no way does my little tantrum diminish the wonderful people I've met through activism and awareness movements for colon cancer. I love them all. In taking a small step back, I feel like I'm in some way abandoning my post, because the monster is still out there, and too many people don't know that they're its favorite food, how to spot it in its camouflage, and track it to its lair so you can kill it.
But I need to step away, just for a little while. Maybe then, I can return to the battle fresh and enthusiastic, sword in hand.
To my cancer warriors: No matter if you've already slain the beast, are still battling and
have discovered the hydra has sprouted another head, or are holding the
shield steady for someone else, your strength continues to inspire and
amaze me. Much love, admiration, and strength to you all.