I often wonder since my cancer recurrence, what did I do to make this come back? I would never blame anyone for their cancer, but it's hard for myself to not question my life and my actions. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to deal with if I knew I did something to cause it. However, I don't know. I have no clue why I got this crappy, overwhelming, and life-altering disease. I simply have no clue.
With my initial diagnosis my friend, and co-worker, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. We went through our treatments at the same time and, selfishly, it felt nice to have someone to talk to who was going through the same things as me. Don't get me wrong, I have the most AMAZING friends in the world, but there's something about the bond you form with someone else going through this who simply "gets it." We would call each other to talk about our bowels, as we would go from having diarrhea to the worst constipation ever. We would talk about mouth sores, and we would discuss the horrendous fatigue. The fatigue that a person who has never had chemo could never possibly be able to understand. I would not want to bombard my non-cancer friends with this, as it's simply indescribable. The pain, the complete and utter exhaustion, and the crazy obsession with my bowels!! Yes, we would literally sit on the phone for the longest time talking about crap; quite literally crap! I was 26, and although I'm a nurse, I don't typically speak about shit outside of work with anybody!
Fast forward, after we finished our treatments, we both went back to work. We were both happy to move past the hard part, without realizing that the hardest part was still yet to come. My friend relapsed very quickly, and sadly passed away within months. This left me questioning everything, as nothing was guaranteed. She was young, married, and had two young children. I think people didn't know what to say to me at this point. I would hear things from people saying, "but you're so positive, that won't happen to you." Really?? Cancer doesn't give a shit if you're positive, young, old, or a good fuckin person! We were good people, we laughed, and sure as shit she tried to be positive. What people don't understand is that it's extremely hard to keep up the positive facade when someone struggles with each breath they try to take, when they are hospitalized and away from their family, or when every movement causes incredible pain. It's not easy, and a positive attitude won't save you. My father also died from cancer when I was 12 years old. He struggled with every breath and it was awful to watch, and I remember everything vividly like it was yesterday. My family didn't deserve this. The most positive and happy people; children, get cancer; WHY!!!! There's a population who shouldn't even know of this word.
With all the amazing people I know/knew with cancer it has left me questioning, after so many years, why can't we figure this damn disease out! Sometimes when I read research articles about absolutely ridiculous topics, I wonder how much money and time was put into researching something so completely absurd. I'm talking ridiculous things like; after years of research we have figured out men are more physically attracted to attractive women. Ok, I made this up, but the studies are just about as ridiculous as this!!
I don't know why I got cancer. I thought I did everything "right." One of the things I have started to wonder is the impact of stress on cancer. I know stress is awful, but I think it may have more of an impact then we may think. I know of many nurses who have been affected by cancer. What can I tell you about my profession? It is definitely high stress!!! I would love to find something to blame because that way I could avoid it! The people I know who have had cancer were all amazing, strong, and wonderful people. None of that mattered to cancer. I would love to know what profession people affected by breast cancer have? Was it high stress? I'm not saying a persons profession is the single determining factor, but sometimes I wonder if it helps contribute to it. I simply want answers. I want to know why, and I don't want others to have to go through this. I don't want others to understand what this is like as the only way you would ever know is if you got cancer yourself. I hate cancer.