Saturday, February 7, 2009

Survivor Guilt.

I had a thought as I was walking today.  It's the same thought I get sometimes when I go to the support group meetings: Why am I alive with a malignant brain tumor, when others aren't?

I often have mixed feelings about my current status. I am alive, and despite the invasive nature of my surgery, the and unpleasantness of chemotherapy, I am living a "normal" life. For example, I've enjoyed holidays and gone on camping trips, sometimes while undergoing treatment. I work, albeit on a volunteer basis, play guitar, take long walks, make dinner, clean house, and even--God forbid--drive. Sometimes my life is quite a bit like the lives of those who don't live in what NPR's Leroy Sievers called the "cancer world".

And since I've been off chemo, I've gained back some of the energy required to perform these daily activities, and therefore, can actually enjoy life. For this, I am grateful, and I am trying to make good use of the time I have been given.

Many other cancer patients aren't so lucky. Some don't survive as long as I have, and others are so disabled by their illness that they can't really enjoy the time they have left.  I wish I could give them some of my good fortune, but I can only give them hugs, and understanding.

But I'm still in the cancer world, too.  I am reminded of that every time I get a scan, every time I worry about the results of a scan, and every time I notice I'm still a little weak on one side from the surgery.  I worry about the future; not so much about dying. I expect when the time comes, it will be easiest on me.   It's thinking about what I haven't accomplished that troubles me.

For the moment though, I'm still alive to enjoy my husband's companionship and watch my son grow.  So, I must focus on celebrating each day, one day at a time. And I must get busy setting some goals and trying to reach them while I have time.

I just feel sorry for those who don't get that chance.  We must all remember that life is not a dress rehearsal, it's a live performance in which we must give our all until the final act. 

1 comment:

Yukon said...

May I say how glad I am you are one of the ones able to live a "normal" life (as much as possible). I'm always grateful you are here!