Have you noticed I have been gone. There is a reason for it. I hit the ground 2 years ago with a clear vision~ I had a voice of being a cancer survivor~ a rare cancer~ and if I spoke, people would listen and maybe protect themselves.
Well, they did. I was invited to share my blog with Melanoma Research foundation, invited to write about my experience on skincare.com, connected with countless patients, parents, friends and loved ones who shared their cancer experiences.
Then something strange happened. I wanted the attention to stop. I was embarrassed to share my story- I felt exposed, vulnerable- like I was self indulging and self serving which was exactly opposite to what I had hoped to accomplish. I was embarrassed as I recognized my story was strangely unique. I lived. I never went through chemotherapy. My cancer was contained, treated and I have been NED for nearly 10 years. I was never "sick"- tired but if you know me...I recovered and was back to life in 3 weeks. How dare I feel I have a voice...I didn't feel entitled to be a "warrior"- there wasn't this warrior fight. I was diagnosed, treated, moved on...
Guilt. I felt guilt. Immense guilt.
Last summer, I sat on my dad's porch and shared with him my experience. My dad has been my number one support and counselor so after almost a year of these feelings, I needed to share with someone who I trusted. And finally expressing it helped me put into words I couldn't find for the emotions I was feeling...Survivor's guilt.
This may not make sense to someone who has not walked the cancer path, sat with fellow patients in the waiting room, compared diagnoses and treatment plans, and given and received encouragement throughout the journey. But to a cancer survivor, it makes perfect sense, and it is another part of the cancer journey that must be processed.
So...now what. I have talked with other cancer patients and sure enough~ This is normal. I breathed a sigh of relief as I discovered they almost all felt it at one point or another. It is just a part of the journey. It was the part of the journey I was not prepared for so it took me over a year to understand but now that I understand it, it is time to bring about new focus.