The lung cancer blues

I was a miserable child. As in, I was miserable; a good deal of the time.

As a ward of my parents, I felt a good many things to be out of my control. However, with careful observation it became clear to me that I was in charge of my personal happiness. And I set about making certain that my own disposition became–through much effort–a sunny one.

This has served me well. Certainly, it has made me more likable but it has also impacted my outlook on everything.

Even cancer. Yep, when I was first diagnosed I look at my odds (not very good) and decided that it was going to be hard, but that I could do this. As in, I had the skill set (that sunny disposition being part of it) to give this a go.

And so I have. But of course, I never could have guessed that I’d be at this surviving thing for such an extended period.

It’s a blessing. And a curse.

There was a sweet little op ed in the NYT’s today about the good in taking things for granted. Sadly, that is a luxury well beyond my reach; an innocence lost long ago.

No, my life is fraught; every frigging moment. Not by choice, but rather circumstance.

Thirteen, going on fourteen years of living with a disease such as lung cancer. For the bulk of that time, well over a decade, I have also lived with the knowledge that my cancer was terminal.

My cancer has remained stable for an extended period. Somnolent, resting, biding its time. I feel good/strong. Sometimes I even pretend that I can let down my guard–just assume I’ll be sticking around. Those are the good days.

But then it hits me. All of it. Like a ton of bricks or a platinum doublet. I am alive but alone with an uncertain future on every front. Grateful and terrified all at the same time. Sad and sometimes angry too. Anxious about my friends because even if cancer’s not breathing down my neck, it’s breathing down theirs.

I was right; this is hard. Really hard.

8 responses to “The lung cancer blues

  1. Dear, dear Linnea,
    How do you always manage to get inside my head and express exactly what I’m feeling? Bless you, I will include you in my prayers to go amnesic for one full day about this damned cancer thing!

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth. I never imagined I would be going in 10 years.
    Know always we have your back.

    Anne Marie

  3. Such excellent writing. As always!

  4. Exactly, Linnea! We’re only five years in and while grateful for every day, the living with the uncertainty is sometime so overwhelming it’s hard to breathe……….and I’m the “caregiver”. My husband, Terry, also has a sunny disposition…….who knows, perhaps that is the secret to longevity with this bleeping disease.
    Bless you!

    • Joyce, I don’t think sunny is the secret to longevity but most days it does make the going easier. Breathe 🙂

      xo Linnea

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