Two years ago, I found out that I had a 12cm tumour in my stomach. I was still considered as an early stage, and I went into remission in 2019.
I currently work as a healthcare professional at the same hospital where I was diagnosed, and two times every day, I happen to pass by the room where I was informed of my diagnosis.
Yesterday I passed by the room again and felt a bit overwhelmed. I feel like I have grieved for what I have lost, and I am also so grateful of what I have gained. It was strange to me that sadness and gratitude could be merged together like that.
Since cancer, I lost a sense of certainty for the future. I also lost my fertility. I also gained disheartening invisible side effects of going through treatment, like having chronic gastrointestinal issues.
Cancer also made me more passionate about giving in a way that works strictly in accordance with an individual’s goals and values, and that’s why I ended up choosing to work in palliative care where a patient’s values direct the plan of care, and why I still like to work in the nonprofit sector where the priorities of the community direct the plan of work.
I don’t necessarily feel proud of working in these areas because I understand how tied they are to my health circumstances and other opportunities, but I certainly feel very grateful. I understand how the opportunity to give in different ways has helped me so much.
After diagnosis, I also learned the enormous healing power of connection, both to individuals through Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) and otherwise
I feel some sense of success, not necessarily because of my treatment working or not working, or because of circumstantial “achievements,” but because I feel that I can now continue to adapt to live by my value systems regardless of what happens. That is very powerful to me.
Above all, I have learned how powerful and important it is to ask questions and listen, and how critical it is to explore options (non-religious or religious) which give a sense of spiritual peace and calm in changing times.
Thanks for reading. Thoughts and hugs to all of you, whether you are having a great or a horrible day .
Thinking about each of you in your own situation and sending you good vibes.