When things are taken away from you, it becomes very clear what you take for granted. Like eyebrows… man, those little guys did a great job!
Another thing that I’ve taken for granted is minor health anomalies. Now that I’ve had Hodgkin Lymphoma, I’m at a much greater risk for it coming back as a more aggressive form. I feel like every time I get chest congestion, wake up sweaty at night, or lose some weight, it will be impossible not to assume the cancer is back. I’ve become very used to watching my weight fluctuate with no real consequences. I’ve weighed as much as 240 pounds, and as little as 9 pounds 8 ounces, so this is something I’ll have to keep an eye on.
Now I’ve completed 12 successful treatments of chemotherapy in just under 6 months. I’m allowing myself to do a little bit more research on the type of cancer I had. While going through the diagnosis and early stages, I really didn’t want to know all the nitty gritty facts, but now I’m interested. Of all the research I’ve done, this stat really stood out to me. “In 2013, an estimated 9,290 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma were diagnosed in the United States, and 1,180 patients died from their disease. The median age at diagnosis was 38 years” (Cancer Network Home Journal of Oncology)
A little while ago, a friend of mine asked me if I am coming out of cancer treatments with some kind of life altering epiphany. After a bit of thought, I’ve decided that the answer is “yes”, but kind of the opposite of what some might think.
Before my diagnosis, and learning that my cancer could likely be cured, there was about a month and a half where only 1 thing was known. There is a very large, fast growing tumour in my chest. This knowledge lead to a recurring thought that couldn’t be avoided: “Sometimes cancer kills people… What if this kills me?.” Every time this question occurred, my mind always brought me back to the same answer. I found solace in believing that I’ve squeezed more love and joy into my 29 years that many hope to in their entire lives. Of course I was going to fight to my last breath, but if the cancer took me, I’d be able to go with no regrets having lived a great life. This is a thought that I’ll be able carry with me for the rest of my days.
Now that cancer treatments are done, I’ll focus my writing on all the other problems faced by white heterosexual males from upper-middle class two-parent families in Canada.
Just kidding, I’m done.
So it goes.