Yesterday I watched Grey’s Anatomy (spoiler alert!) – I’m one that loves my medical dramas! On it there was a patient with an incurable brain tumor who also happened to be a specialized fetal surgeon. As always with medical dramas the amazing neurosurgeon at the hospital offers some hope. This character has been on the show since the beginning of the season and finally they got to the point where they had her go for surgery. (here comes the spoiler part) After many days go by she finally wakes up. I was a little annoyed at how quickly she woke up and was chipper and her old self – as if that really happens – anyways, when she wakes up they test her for various potential issues of brain damage – for the most part she is OK, however, she is completely blind. At this point a bunch of the surgeons are all depressed and sad (and crying) like they failed but she says “I’ll learn to adapt” but more importantly, that was the point – that she was alive such that she had the opportunity to learn to adapt – so it wasn’t a sad story, rather an amazing one of survival against the odds.
I tell this story because it has a large impact on me. You see, I have yet to come to a point of acceptance that cancer would have killed me had I not done treatment. Not accepting that, means that I find myself doubting that I made the right decisions, but also regretting every ache in my body. Before cancer, I was healthy and strong – stronger than I had been in many years – it wasn’t the cancer that made me weak, it was the treatment! So, I think of the chemotherapy and surgery as a loss – the things that cancer took away from me – rather than as a breath of new life – the opportunities to continue with my life in perhaps a more focused manner than before cancer. I need to start remembering that before chemo, although I was strong, the lumps in my breasts were starting to cause pain – they hurt – I wasn’t perfectly healthy before treatment, rather I had a disease that was trying to kill me.
It is one thing to say it, but another to really internalize it. Saying it is the first step … so yesterday I took another baby step on the path towards wellness.