Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Trouble with Caring after Cancer

One of my biggest struggles as a cancer survivor is caring about things.

The reason for this, is I know how quickly everything you do care about can be taken from you when you get sick. I know (as do others) how hard it is to care, when in three months, or whenever your checkup might be, you may not be able to care about them again.

What I mean by this, is if you fall into cancer again, you can't work on things like a career, a family, or even your friends and family, you immediately go back to "survivor" mode. This is something I really have had struggling dealing with (I feel sometimes as my blog is becoming my depressing thoughts, but that isn't what I intend!).

This leads me to my topic. What can I care about? What should I care about? What will I care about? What is the right thing to care about? These are all fair questions for myself, or any other cancer survivor to ask. When some things can be taken so fast from you, it really is hard to care, and to plan ahead. People my age tend to have a five year plan for there lives. How can you plan for that when your check ups are every three months? It i s a question I ask myself constantly.

It is a tough one to deal with, and I still don't have an answer for it, I wish I did. 

I care about some things a great deal still, but I am honestly scared to lose them, so it is tough to let myself back into that comfort zone again. It mostly involves people. I can deal with losing a career, starting a new career, some day to day things, but I worry when I think of the people I care about. I think this is the biggest thing I have learned. A lot of people depend on me for a variety of different things. I felt like I let them down when I got sick (I know I didn't, merely took a hiatus of sorts), and I am back at it taking care of things at home and at work.

Having cancer made me put up a lot of walls around myself from the world. I didn't want people to see how sick I had gotten, mainly because I cared. Everyone knew I was sick, but until you see it, and have someone explain it to you, it is hard for someone to understand.

I find it hard to care about myself sometimes. Putting everyone else first has become a normal event in my life. I want to be able to help people as much as I can now, especially since I leaned on some people very hard when I was sick. They deserve to have some time to put their feet up. For lack of a better term, the have earned it in my eyes. I am trying to care about myself more, but it is not so easy sometimes.

Knowing which things I need and want to care about may be a struggle for awhile, and I don't think I am alone in this one. But I want to get there. It certainly is something I care about.


  1. Cancer is plan-shattering, quite honestly. The five year plan turns into "what am I doing with my life?" and anything becomes possible, which can be overwhelming. Mostly, I think we need to rebuild afterward, AND we need to heal deep down. If you can bring the two together that's the best . . . care for others, but always care for yourself to - then just take it one day at a time.

    Be well, Eamonn. ~Catherine

    1. Sorry it took so long to reply to the post! It is very true, it is hard to plan ahead when everything seems so short term. Especially when the people around you are starting families, buying homes, etc. and I don't really know how I fit into those types of things anymore. Healing is a long process, but I think I am taking steps in the right direction these days.