It's Cancer, Not Can'tcer . . . .

Like many cancer patients, ThyCans have blood tests every few weeks to determine if any cancerous tissue is still present. This begins after their surgery and radioactive iodine (RAI) treatments. I had surgery in March and RAI in April, so I’m down to seeing the endocrinologist every 8 weeks.

At my last appointment, the endo felt that various levels weren’t where he wanted them, so it was a surprise to see at this morning’s appointment that everything aside from some vitamin levels was normal. I don’t need to see him again for 3 months. And, although there is always a chance that those hormone levels may rise over the next year, it’s pretty safe at this point to say I’m clear. This is called NED (No Evidence of Disease).

I am pretty much cancer-free.

So what the hell does cancer have to do with my triathlon blog, you say?

Everything.

I have been sick before – terribly, chronically ill. And there were many days that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was afraid to date, work, study, go to movies, dinners, work out, even leave my house. Boy, did I miss a ton of workouts. I even gave up racing for a while. I almost let it defeat me.

But since having had (and, it seems, beaten) cancer, my attitude toward my various illnesses is totally different.

Which seems silly, because cancer is the baddie, right? Most people consider it worse than inner ear problems, or migraines, or heart palpitations, or depression. Cancer is one of the scariest things you can imagine being diagnosed with. It’s The Big C-word. (Not the four-letter word that ends in T that people use for women they really, really dislike – the other one).

I started out thinking, I’m really going to need keep my workouts up until surgery, so that I can rest as much as I need to after treatment without losing fitness.

And then the weeks started to fly by, and I wasn’t feeling all that great, and I wasn’t doing anything at all. I remember one day, not long after my RAI, when my TSH was super-high, and I felt like I’d been run over by a truck, beaten up, and left out in the hot sun for days, that I suddenly got sick of it. I was so tired I was literally nauseous, but I told myself, I just as well work out, because either way I’m going to be exhausted.

So I did. Little bits at a time. And I did my first triathlon in almost 2 years, and my first race since January, last month.

Now, every day that I wake up, put my feet on the floor, and make a workout, I feel like I’ve been given a gift. When I’m almost last or last in my age group at a race, I cheer for myself because I’m finishing. I still get mad that I’m slow, but I feel excited afterwards instead of dejected. Ever since cancer, I really don’t think there’s anything I can’t do, even physically. Cancer didn’t beat me – why should anything else?

I decided that, in my head, it’s cancer, not can’tcer.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Molly said...

Loved this post, and shared it with my friend going through chemo right now.

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