One of the many annoying things about having cancer is that you are expected to “make the most of every day!” & “live each day to the fullest!” Frankly that is too much pressure. And yes, I know I am lucky to be alive. Many of the people in my private FB Mesothelioma group are doing far worse than I am, or they have already died. But I reject this pressure to live the perfect cancer life. I refuse to drink green smoothies, post positive affirmations on social media and joyfully check off items on my bucket list.
Just like everyone else on this planet I have enough to worry about without this added “be the sparkling cancer inspiration girl” bullshit. I worry about my aging parents who seem to have no long-term plan in place. I grapple with how best to deal with my sibling who has a personality disorder. I have relationship problems. I am trying to figure out a new career path/going back to school, even though some days I am so exhausted and nauseous that I can’t even get off the couch. I am navigating depression & anxiety. I am experiencing that weird mid-life crisis, wondering “what does it all mean?” I am feeling unsettled, missing the U.S. where I spent most of my adult life, but knowing that I will now never be able to move back there. I am dealing with longing and sadness over the fact that many of my close friends and family live far away. I am navigating life with our recently adopted senior dog who seems to be in great pain and so now the endless Vet visits begin. The list goes on and on. And of course I am indeed one of the very lucky ones because I don’t have to worry about keeping a roof over my head, or having enough money to put food on the table, or fearing for my children’s safety. So although my worries are nothing compared to those of most people out there, they are enough.
This whole pressure – intensified a gazillion times by social media – to be endlessly grateful, joyful, spinning in positivity while you have cancer is f*cked up and I am not buying into it anymore. And for the record, I don’t have a bucket list. But what I do have is a two item list of things I get to do when I get very sick, which my partner has agreed to: 1) I get to feed the squirrels peanuts – I know it’s not a good idea but it’s my list & 2) my Pit Bull Dexter The Elderbull gets to snuggle on the bed with me. 💖