Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Survivors Guilt, or Something Like It

I've been reading through the colon cancer tag on Tumblr, after being followed by another young woman who is also dealing with with this disease, and I really can't believe how easy I've gotten off with the whole colon cancer thing.  Aside from the diagnosis itself, which obviously is not awesome, I've really been getting a lot of best case scenarios along the way, and a lot of it has been pretty flukey, starting catching it early enough (stage 1) that chemo and radiation were not necessary, by virtue of what was a routine scope.  

The worst of my colitis was concentrated in the ascending colon (where the tumour was located) which meant that my rectum could be left in place even while removing the rest of the colon, making it possible to do a resection that let me avoid things like iliostomies (pooh-bags), when originally I was looking at pooh-bag for life. I had very little post-surgical problems aside from a minor ish infection in my join.  I didn't pop any staples or sutures, haven't had any subsequent surgeries.  I had a six-week follow up appointment with my surgeon and he's pleased with my progress.  I can return to a normal diet, and should be able to return to most normal activities in another month or so.  I'm going back to work half-days next week.  Did I mention, work has been fantastic and crazy-supportive about this? I know not many people get that luxury when facing major illness.

Even my bathroom trips have been best case scenario.  Where I was told I'd probably have to crap 3-4 times a day, it's been mostly once a day, like clockwork almost.  

The weird thing about all the best-case scenario business is that I almost feel like I have no right to complain.  Long ago I started dealing with shitty things by thinking of all the ways situations could be worse.  Problem with that is that I start feeling like I should ALWAYS be looking on the bright side and unless I am dealing with the absolute worst-case then I'm just being a whiner because somebody always has it worse than me.  It's the kind of thing that results in me telling doctors in the ER "Oh, I'm okay..." before the Well-Travelled One nudges me and whispers "uh.. No, you're NOT. That's why we're here."  It's the kind of thing that makes me apologize to people for getting upset, because I am scared because I had FUCKING COLON CANCER AND HAD MY ENTIRE COLON REMOVED, but it's okay I'm fine.  It's also the kind of thing that leads me to sometimes overdo it because I don't always ask for help when I should.

That's messed up, right? I forget that I have every right to get freaked out from time to time, which I still do, not gonna lie.  I downplay how tired I get sometimes, because my muscles are shot, post surgery that my body is not used to holding itself up.  I feel weird blogging about all this because I kind of feel like, okay, surgery is done, no more cancer, you can stop talking about it now.  

Meh, I guess it could always be worse.

3 comments:

  1. everyone's problems are their problems. just because my mom died doesn't mean someone can't be really really sad when their cat dies. you know? because right now, you dealing with your dead cat really fucking sucks. he's not sleeping on the bed in between your knees anymore, and now you have to figure out what to do with all his food and toys. every time you see one of those cats in a cage at the pet store, you get sad. it will get better, but right now IT FUCKING SUCKS.

    dude, YOU HAD CANCER. like, active 'i want to kill your colon and make your life ridiculous' cancer. were you lucky that it was as straightforward as it was? sure, but that doesn't mean IT DIDN'T SUCK BIG FLOPPY DONKEY DICK. that survivor's guilt is a bitch. i think it makes it a bit easier to be appreciative of how 'good' you had it, but it doesn't mean you can't be all pissed off and 'fuck cancer'.

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  2. I am happy you are ok...that is the end of it! You have been through a lot...end of story!!! I know I was lucky too in my health issues (not nearly as bad as yours) but you know what they sucked and well I had them...if people don't understand that is their problem!

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!