There is much more going on with me than just having cancer. Perhaps it didn’t get a chance to metastasize. The “rule of thumb” used by doctors is that if you are still around five years after diagnosis, you are probably going to die from something else other than the original cancer. You can be visually, apparently cured of broken bones, infections and other medical problems…but the hidden struggle between cancer cells and the immune system is invisible and relentless.
In the early days after diagnosis (2016), having cancer was almost like a joke. Just like Donald Trump being president. Telling family and friends that I have been diagnosed with cancer seemed like a TV drama about being arrested for a crime I didn’t commit. The realms of the unreal. Denial. My family in Sweden just recently found me in the USA; and God was cursed for this unfair action on His part. Telling friends and others about the diagnosis initially brought on a sad affect. Except for a few exceptions, I was not verbally criticized for choosing hospice care instead of medically/surgically prescribed treatment. In 2017 I entered a resident hospice facility waiting to die. That didn’t happen, as expected.
The firing squad used blanks.
Now I am living in a room in an adult foster home in Salem, Oregon. Every six months I get checked out by a family medicine doctor. So far my blood count is stable. A low blood count is not enough to determine if cancer has reoccurred; but anemia is what took me to the ER, where stomach cancer was eventually diagnosed.
The AARP link has suggestions that may help readers converse with those of us suffering from chronic illnesses. We all carry memories around of family and significant others who suffered and died from cancer and other incurable illnesses. These memories may or may not hinder dialogue when something needs to be said.
After all, we don’t bite.🙂