A Survivor’s Scars
Many of you know my daytime job is in the health field. Physical therapy. And many of you also know I’m a cancer survivor. Colon cancer.
Sometimes these two worlds collide to remind me of my own mortality and the fragility of life.
A few months back I treated a lady who had battled colon cancer six years ago. And won. She did everything the doctors told her to do. Had the full course of treatment, all the follow-up tests. For six years she was clean. No sign of anything. Then one day she developed a cramp in her side, a cramp that wouldn’t go away. A couple doctors later she had a biopsy done of her liver and there it was. Cancer had metastasized to her liver and she once again found herself in the heat of battle.
That shook me. Really shook me. They tell me I’m clean. My tests all come back negative. No cancer in me. At least not that they can see. At least not that the tests can detect. But the reality is that I do look over my shoulder wondering if I’ll suddenly develop a cramp that won’t go away.
Then this week a patient I’ve been seeing, a different woman struggling with cancer, took a turn for the worse. She isn’t going to win this battle. It’s heartbreaking to watch. I hate cancer.
Being a survivor carries with it certain baggage. Any survivor will tell you the emotional scars remain, the memories, the fears, the questions. Over time, I’m finding they diminish and fade some, but I still think about cancer every day and wonder if it will come back. I wonder if some day, in some way, cancer will be the thing that claims my life. I wonder if my family will sit by my side and helplessly watch me waste away.
So what can I do? I can continue to live and make the most of the moments I’m given. I can pour my heart and soul into living, into my family, my ministry to others, my writing. I can try to make an impact on other lives. I can pray and plead and pray some more. I can do the things all of us should be doing every day and leave the rest to God.