World Cancer Day

CourageToday is World Cancer Day. And I am pleased to announce that I am 12 ½ years cancer free. When people asked me today how many years I have been cancer free, I’ve been rounding up to 13 years. That is what I posted on my Facebook Page. But for this blog post, I decided not to round. Perhaps because I need to express “the half.”

When we were children, we always gave our ages in halves. Back then, those milestones were important. As adults, we round. Sometimes we round up, other times, as with our ages, we round down. Of course some adults pretend to forget their ages, and others refuse to acknowledge them entirely. However, I just realized at this very moment, “the half” is important again.

It’s funny how something as basic as time becomes so critical, especially when one does not have much of it left. Or the perception of living on borrowed time comes into play.

I am one of the lucky ones. My cancer was caught early. The tumor was removed, albeit in multiple surgeries, but nevertheless, it was cut out of me. The radiation treatment afterward was otherworldly. In my opinion, the treatment and subsequent side effects were worse than the cancer. But I, like so many others, persevered. I moved forward, slowly but surely.

The scar left much deeper wounds than I anticipated. Due to the multiple surgeries, the incision did not heal properly. Even scar revision surgery did not work. For quite some time, all I saw when I looked into the mirror was that scar. I felt ugly and broken, exhausted mentally and physically.

People made unbelievable comments about my scar. “Frankenstein” came up frequently. One of the commonly used phrases was, “Well, it’s not that bad.” Never once did I ask anyone how bad my scar looked. So, the unsolicited comments made the situation worse. My brother thought their comments were as ridiculous as I did. He decided to mock them. He would joke, “Oh, it’s such a pretty scar!”

I have to say he made me laugh every time he said it. Thank you, Timmy.

Humor is how my family deals with adversity. And it helps. Tremendously. And it keeps everyone in the hospital wondering what we’re up to in our hospital room. And when the nurses and the rest of the staff started laughing, it would carry into other patients’ rooms. Laughter is contagious. And it is good for the soul. And that’s not just a line I’m trying to feed you. It works, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through those dark days without my loved ones and the laughter and mayhem they created. I can not thank my family and friends enough for their love and support, and the seemingly endless stream of “Get Well” chocolate.

Today, I am praying for each and every one of you who has been touched by cancer. I hope that you feel the love, peace, happiness and understanding that I am sending your way. All I ask in return is that you celebrate a part of each day with a little laughter, whether it is for a half an hour or a half a day. Because halves do count.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

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