Normalizing – in a good way

“People give you 3 months to mourn, and a year to have cancer, then they expect you to get back to normal.”

I don’t know where I heard this quote first, but I’ve experienced the truth of the statement both in terms of mourning and cancer recovery.

Normalizing - in a good way

It’s not that I’m faced with the reality of that quote on a daily basis, but it does remind me that while the lingering effects of my cancer still impact every single day of my life, many around me have moved on; my cancer is old news and in their minds, overplayed. I understand this perspective; I’ve been there myself. I know people whom I’ve avoided because every conversation, for years, involved detailed information about the wellbeing of their bladder or their gout. It does get old, and frankly, there are some details I just don’t need to know.

Normalizing - in a good way

I do try to avoid being that person who unloads in that manner, but the fact that cancer is still a part of my present life is depressing to others as well. People want good news. Something better than “I was able to hold on to my pen long enough to write a whole page,” which is a big deal to me as a writer and avid journal keeper, but not so meaningful to everyone else. I don’t talk about those things anymore. When people ask how I’m doing, I just say “awesome” and leave it at that.

Normalizing - in a good way

This is where a group like the Young Survival Coalition, and a retreat like Harmony Hill, are so critical to the wellbeing of a cancer survivor like me. It’s not just a retreat away from the stresses of everyday life, it’s a coming together with other women with similar experiences and battle scars. A three day weekend where we can compare notes, treatments, onging issues, what works for me, what doesn’t, and how we’re coping with all of it is not just healing, it’s normalizing – in a good way.

Normalizing - in a good way

We’re not alone in this experience. We can share without the fear of being perceived as complaining. We can make fun of our condition and laugh at cancer in a way that often makes others uncomfortable. It’s summer camp crossed with a slumber party, plus booze and minus the curfew. It’s yoga, meditation, labyrinth walking, beach combing, flower smelling, and lawn napping, followed by good food, good conversation, and tearing the best parts out of magazines for each of us to make something uniquely our own.

Normalizing - in a good way

And it’s research. I’m looking forward to another surgery in the next few months. This one will involve 12 hours under the knife – that’s a long time – plus six weeks of recovery. It’s not something to take lightly. But I spent a weekend with 23 other cancer survivors, most of whom have already endured this surgery. I got better information on what to expect and how to prepare from these women who already went through it than from the doctor who has perfomed this procedure hundreds of times. And that’s to be expected. As much as these doctors know about performing this procedure, they haven’t experienced it.

Normalizing - in a good way

I’m so thankful I have this group of survivors in my life. That we got to get away together, away from all the other stresses and demands of life for a couple days seems like a miracle. I know it took a lot of work to pull it together, but it was so worth it. I love you girls.

Normalizing - in a good way

WW linky on page 2

26 Comments
  1. Karly @ Three in Three
  2. Nicole
  3. Brandi
  4. Laura
  5. Ai Sakura
  6. Theresa
  7. Sarah
  8. Sheila Cain
  9. Carolyn
  10. Felicia
  11. walkingon travels
  12. Mimi
  13. Kat
  14. Emilee
  15. sarah
  16. NYC Single Mom
  17. BusyWorkingMama
  18. Paula J
  19. Karren Haller
  20. Dave Keller
  21. Jennifer @ Mom Spotted
  22. Gina
  23. Teresa from NanaHood
  24. NCSue (I follow back!)
  25. Brenda
  26. Ellen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge