Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sticking Around

Before my cancer diagnosis, I knew only one person with cancer. Since then, I’ve met dozens of cancer patients and survivors and even more people who have loved ones with cancer. And sadly, many people who’ve lost loved ones to cancer.

The problem with having friends with cancer is that there’s a pretty high likelihood that they’ll die on you. I think this is why some people distance themselves from cancer patients – they want to avoid the pain when that friend dies.

I know that I’m going to leave some people sad when I die. I worry especially about fellow cancer survivors who are counting on me to live so that they can use me as an example of how a fighting spirit, healthy lifestyle, and positive attitude can keep cancer at bay. I want these people to know that my dropping dead tomorrow doesn’t make my efforts at surviving meaningless.

I’ve also been re-connecting with a few friends from my distant past and I’ve wondered whether it’s fair for me to re-introduce myself into their lives if I’m just going to die.

I’ve gone to two funerals in the past year for friends who died of cancer -- the only two I’ve ever been to in my life. And each time, I was acutely aware of the fact that this would be me one day.

Unfortunately, it’s quite likely that I’ll be going to more funerals this year. Going to so many funerals, especially for friends who have died so young of this dreaded disease, can be tough going on the heart. I worry about other cancer survivors at these funerals and the fears they must be facing. I worry about other cancer survivors at MY funeral and what they’ll be thinking about their own futures.

But somehow, I have faith that we’ll all get through whatever comes our way. As Woody Allen said, “the heart is a resilient little muscle”. We’ll be heart-broken, bewildered, angry, crushed. But we’ll go on with our lives, love the people around us, and do our best to make ours and others’ lives better. I think that’s the best tribute we can pay to the ones we’ve lost.

To my family and friends who are standing by me through this, knowing the risk of losing me, I’d like to say that I’m as impressed with you as you are with me. It takes a lot to stick around. I don’t have a choice. You do.

1 comment:

jackie torda said...

hey shin!! i'm so happy we now have your blog so we can keep up with how well you will be doing :)
it was great to see you over christmas and my dad keeps talking about taking a trip to singapore this summer!! that would be so much fun! hope u have a great week
tell josie and toby hi and give them my love
<3 jackie torda