Today, I woke up thinking about a time a few years ago where I could barely lift my head up or get out of bed. Whenever memories of cancer drift into my thoughts I become pretty contemplative and outside of myself. This past week I’ve been sick with some sort of head cold, and it feels so reminiscent of a time where I had no control over my body while going through chemo that I physically go into a panic mode. This feeling isn’t all bad; most of the time it puts into perspective how 'un-serious' my current cold is ...and that I should quit acting like a wimp.
I think a lot of people don’t realize that the hardest part of cancer for me (and for most people ) is when treatment is over. After I finished chemo, and went through all the surgeries, I no longer was in "survival- mode" but able to reflect back on everything that actually happened to me. With that comes the uncertainty of how I wanted to move on and the coming to terms with having the freedom to choose what I wanted again.
On healthy days, I’m often surprised at how little cancer actually crosses my mind. I sometimes think I’ve put the experience to rest, and now my only focus is on life as an amputee. I was determined to not let cancer be the driving force of everything I did. My hope was to be independent and let the things I produce speak for themselves outside of being, “ Emy the cancer survivor who did _____,” But now in every piece of art I create, or in every poem I write, that experience of having survived something so life-altering is always there. It might not be obvious, but it’s there, and I can’t shake it.
I’m grateful that having had cancer doesn’t completely overwhelm me and doesn’t have to be the focus of my life anymore. Over these past years, I’ve come to understand that it will always be an integral part of shaping who I’ve become and that I should let it.
To put in other words; you don’t go through something like this just to forget, it’s not fair to the person who survived it for you.