When People Ask If I'm 'Better' Now That the Cancer Is 'Over'

It’s not over. It will never be “over.” I know, it’s a depressing thought. But so many people have asked me, “You’re better now?” However, it’s not really a question… more of a statement. Like they are telling me I’m better now. Doctors are really good at this — trying to tell me I’m feeling better and everything is OK. Because that’s easier for other people. Because I had the cancerous organ removed, therefore everyone thinks it’s over. But the hard truth is, it’s far from over, and it won’t ever be over. Symptoms may improve, even to the point of remission, but it’s always there. Either as a memory, an unnamed pain, a worry in the back of the mind.

Putting cancer aside… (which is a strange statement, I know) having an autoimmune disorder is a long-term battle. It’s a daily struggle with flair-ups and remission. It can be debilitating at times, and other times it’s a distant thought and cannot even be detected.

Autoimmunity is a lot like cancer in that way. Remission, flair up, treatment, repeat. When that diagnosis comes and you understand the weight of it, it sinks in with all of its ups and downs and uncertainty. It changes life forever. Life will never be the same when something of that magnitude enters.

So what do you do when facing this diagnosis if it’s never over? You live… every day with courage, perseverance, and you try not to let the anger eat you alive. I have been angry, and I struggle almost daily with it. Not really with the question of “why me?” but with the realization that I feel truly alone. The loneliness has been deep and has made me rethink every single priority. However, I have come to be grateful for this realization. It has brought back into focus that the only true connection comes from within and connects to something bigger than ourselves. To the universe, to nature, to God.

So even though it will never be over, I believe the journey is meant to mean something. To point us where we need to go. To make us something more than we were before.

Or maybe it’s just a joke the universe is playing on us and it means nothing… either way.

*Disclaimer: The last sentence was my attempt to be funny and lighten the mood.

Follow this journey on The Best Cancer.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself in regards to a cancer diagnosis. What would you say or wish someone had told you? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

Thinkstock photo by Ryan McVay

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Cancer

benches on a walkway

The Impact of Cancer on Family and Friends

You do not need to have cancer for the disease to have an impact on you. What should you expect when someone you know is diagnosed with cancer? When someone is diagnosed with cancer, relatives and friends are often the forgotten ones. If that is you, then you will know that you are also affected [...]
woman on a bridge

How I Moved Past My Anger Over My Cancer Diagnosis

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt everything else but angry. The anger came later — the weekend before my surgery — when I walked past a local cancer charity run. Out of the blue, I suddenly exploded. The flood gates, the iron doors, reasoning and rationality, trust and self belief — none was [...]
watercolor of couple on bench with words 15 acts of kindness that helped cancer patients through treatment

15 Unforgettable Acts of Kindness That Helped Cancer Patients Through Treatment

Throughout the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it’s the kindness of others that often brings hope and positivity to your day. Whether it’s as simple as a phone call or as big as a donation towards your treatment, friends and even strangers can never underestimate the power of kindness on someone facing cancer. Their actions will [...]
caterpillar and orange butterfly sitting on a leaf in front of pink flowers

How to Fully Embrace the Transformative Process of Illness

Most of us are familiar with the butterfly as a symbol of transformation. The tricky part is, it is the symbol of manifested transformation, rather than the path that brings us there. And while it’s nice to have the final goal in mind, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out how to transform ourselves, especially when [...]