Can I quit cancer?

I was asked tonight (by a woman I met), “So are you cancer free now?”  I’m sure a lot of people wonder that about those of us who have had cancer and the straight up answer is, I hope so!

“No evidence of disease, or NED, is the new ‘remission”.  But there is no cure for cancer and a certain percentage of cancers will recur, and nobody really knows if it will happen to them. Statistics get thrown around, charts and studies would conclude that the odds are in my favor of remaining NED, but there are no guarantees as we would all hope for. Such a guarantee  is just out of reach.  If it were, then I could stop thinking about it on a daily basis and we could all just leave Cancerland behind us.

I woke up the other day and thought to myself, what if I just didn’t talk about breast cancer anymore. What if I stopped going to support groups, stopped visit the oncologist, stopped hanging out with fellow survivors for coffee and lunch dates, WHAT IF I JUST QUIT CANCER?  Maybe THAT is what would get me to move further along up the road. I’ve learned of plenty of people who did just that. They never spoke of it again, and they went on in their lives and stopped identifying themselves as survivors. But then later in the week I was working the volunteer hotline and took a phone call from a woman who has stage 4 breast cancer which has spread to her bones.  She really needed someone. I found it hard to relate to a lot of what she is going through, but then we found the common bond of our faith, and it was there that I realized my BEING here in Cancer is for women like her. Women who need a ray of hope.   A hand of compassion.  There is a sisterhood here that few can understand. I know that when I was in my darkest hour I needed the survivors whom I met and became my friends. I needed the help of those who had gone before me and came out the other side, happy and healthy. I needed them like others need me now and so I guess I won’t be “quiting” cancer anytime soon.

5 thoughts on “Can I quit cancer?

  1. Koryn,
    I keep you in my prayers always. I am glad you have decided to not quit cancer. There are many days I wonder if “my number” will be up soon. I am truly sorry that your number was called, but I also feel confident that you will be one of the survivors. Whether my number is called or not, you will always be an inspiration to me.

  2. Hi Koryn – I don’t always visit but I read your updates in my Google Reader 🙂 I can in some ways relate to what you are saying: it’s only been 4 months since my brain aneurysm and surgery, so it’s obviously still very present in my mind. I hang out on a great forum and have met up with another survivor. I would like to volunteer for the Stroke Association and/or Different Strokes (for under-65s), when I’m strong enough. And yet, sometimes I think I wish I could just forget about it all. I know your journey has been/is much tougher than mine, but you are so beautiful and strong and you are a real inspiration. Take care – oh and enjoy your trip to this side of the pond 🙂 xxx

  3. Koryn – I’ve had some of your same thoughts about my own survivorship lately…I’d certainly like to quit cancer too. I realized that the sisterhood that you have described is not one I would have chosen, but it chose me and I MUST do something positive with it. You are doing many things through your volunteering and hotline work. I know that you will continue to be an inspiration to many. Thank you for your work and for not quitting cancer. Ann

  4. Beautifully written post, wish I could have done it myself. You hit the nail on the head with the line about “sisterhood”. I think it would be hard for those who haven’t also walked in the valley of the shadow of death to understand it. I look to you for inspiration myself and you never let me down. Thank you!

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