When The Cancer Doesn’t Come Back: Being Cancer Free

I recently celebrated my anniversary of being cancer free. By celebrating, I mean I realized this month, 12 years ago, I had my last injection of the poison treatment known as chemotherapy. To be honest, I haven’t missed it at all.

It’s been quite a ride for the last 12 years. Got divorced, accepted Jesus, got remarried, had 3 more kids, finished 22 marathons, countless ½ marathons, and finished an Ironman triathlon.

Some people have asked me what it feels like to have cancer behind me. I honestly couldn’t tell them. I don’t define my life by cancer but it certainly was a defining moment.

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think about cancer. It has been 12 years since I left that cancer center and I can still smell the alcohol preps and taste the chemotherapy.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of someone that passed away from cancer. The list is high, too high. These aren’t just faceless names to me. These are people that I knew personally and their ages range from old to far far too young.

No Cancer

A week doesn’t go by when I don’t hear about another person getting diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes I get asked to speak to them and I truly consider it a blessing to do it. If I can bring any peace to a cancer patient or their family, I will do whatever that takes.

I am still waiting for my cancer to come back. Every ailment, unknown bump, cold, illness, or unexplained thing that happens with my body, I am right back into thinking I have cancer again. Do I obsess over it? No, but I have to admit that it is the first place my mind goes to when these things happen.

I have spent many times alone in my car crying tear after tear sometimes not really sure why. I have been to the lowest of low and I have seen the view from the mountain tops.

I have many times alone with God and the prayer and relationship time I have with Him is more meaningful to me than I can put into words.

I often get frustrated when I get mad or yell at someone or something. I feel like I am taking for granted the gift of survivorship that I have. I know I am only human but I really need to re-focus and commit to the lessons I learned through cancer.

I have learned that having cancer made me more present than anything possible. The world, our society, people in general, will try to get you out of that mindset but truly to be present in the moment is a gift and there really is nothing else.

I have learned that close friends and family are more important than “likes” on a post or money in the bank. People that ask the tough questions and go out of their way to make you feel loved. People that can see you are hurting and will do anything to help ease that pain if only for a second. People that when you see them, you heart just feels better and a smile comes on your face.

So here I am. 12 years cancer free, re-committing my life. Committing to honor God with everything I do. Committing to be present in every moment I can. Committing to try to honor all cancer patients of whom I can say are in the cancer club with me. I will continue to do runs, triathlons, whatever I can, to honor those who don’t have the ability to do it themselves. If my story and testimony can give them even the slightest bit of encouragement then count me in!

God gave me today. It’s the best present in the world. I’m not going to waste it.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


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