Cancer Sucks.

Need I say more?

I think I’ve talked about this before, how when you’re diagnosed with cancer, you seem to realize how many people around you have or have had cancer. It’s a horrible, horrible number, which is why I will probably volunteer and raise funds for cancer organizations for the rest of my life. We seriously NEED a world without cancer, and if I can put even the tiniest dent in that goal, I will.

In recent months, I’ve had two friends diagnosed with cancer. In the past year, another one of my friends joined the ranks, and prior to my diagnosis, another friend had started his fight with cancer. These are people who are my age…mid to late 30s. There have been other people I’ve been acquainted with or told about over the last couple years who have been diagnosed, too, varying ages. It’s just crazy how widespread this disease is. It’s crazy and so damn frustrating.

It makes me mad that cancer doesn’t care that these people have friends and family who love them. That they are good people just trying to make it through life and do the best they can. Between the four people I mentioned, there are nine kids who have to watch their parent struggle in one way or another. Two of those friends are in the hospital, one is home recovering from surgery, and the other one is going for radiation this week. I’m sure every single one of them has shouted at the top of their lungs, “Give me a break!!!” I know I did at least once during my fight.

Sometimes when I hear of the struggles others with cancer are going through, I feel guilty. I feel like I got off easy, you know? Deep down, I know that’s not true. I know my body fought hard through chemo and recovery from my bazillion surgeries. I know my body was so weak and I had to rebuild my strength. I know it wasn’t easy when everything was happening, that I looked and felt like shit, but it’s so easy to look back and say, “What I went through wasn’t so bad,” when I see my friends being hospitalized because their bodies are being beaten down by their diseases. When I see them going through it longer than I went through it. My treatment was short. I was never hospitalized. My side effects were always pretty manageable with medications.

My fight is over and I feel great. And sometimes I feel guilty for that, and I think that’s an OK think to feel. I think that’s normal. Survivor’s guilt, in a sense?

Anyway…Barkley is absolutely fantastic and if you have Instagram, you should follow his shenanigans at @sirbarkleyelkins It’s mostly pictures of him sleeping because he’s a pup and that’s what he does, but he’s ADORABLE! And tomorrow he is 7 weeks!

One response to “Cancer Sucks.”

  1. Jennifer, I couldn’t agree with you more about cancer. It’s a horror. My son was 17 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. A year and a half of tough chemo & radiation saved him but left him with neuropathy for life, swiss cheese holes in his bones from steroids, permanent balding, sterility, surgery scars and tattoos from radiation. Then 17 years later at 34 a full blown heart attack called “The Widow Maker” subsequently from a 100% blockage attributable to his chest radiation 17 years ago.

    He was treated in the Pediatric Day Hospital at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and sadly we were surrounded by other children with cancer from infants to age 18. An endless supply of pediatric patients. We went to several wakes for other children who didn’t make it that we had come to know while being treated. It was the darkest part of our lives and it still effects us to this day-always will. You don’t forget what cancer does and what it can do. My husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 2 years after our son, it was related to working on the burning pile of debris for the first 3 weeks after 9/11 as a first responder. He had surgery followed by treatments, but he’s okay too.

    Cancer, it sucks no doubt, but if you’re lucky enough to come out on the other side, life is different. You suddenly want to share your experiences and help those who are newly diagnosed. You’re stronger and have a new purpose as a result of what you’ve been through. The seasons are more beautiful. Sunshine feels like medicine. Holidays with your family and friends are the best gifts. Your priorities change for the better. You don’t sweat the small stuff.

    I like to believe God has given cancer survivors along with their families and friends a special ability to understand and do God’s work on earth. Even if cancer takes someone you love, that experience may help you to help someone else someday. I lost my Dad to colon cancer in 1997 at age 59 but that experience helped me save my son 6 years later.

    Keep doing what you are doing. Maybe Sir Barkley can be a therapy dog for sick kids someday!

    Stay strong,
    Love Cousin Debbie 💜😘

    PS: Our son and his wife made us grandparents of a healthy baby boy who is now 3 months old through the miracle of medicine. Life does go on in spite of cancer.


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