Saturday, October 13, 2007

Welcome to the Good Life (Part II of II)

Read this first: Welcome to the Good Life (Part I of II)

Besides staying alive and completing my minimal schoolwork, I had almost no responsibilities or commitments. I often judge days based on my productivity, whether it be exercising, engaging in social events, finishing tasks or doing work. When I had cancer, I could watch television the entire day and that would be considered productive. That mindset was unique to cancer and I don’t expect will ever be duplicated.

I quit receiving piano lessons, my soccer team, and teaching Sunday school. I stopped using my Ab Crunch Trainer, shaving, shampooing and bathing daily. Who was I trying to impress? A bi-daily shower would suffice.

I quit worrying about a balanced diet, and instead took advantage of the delightful dishes my parents and aunt provided me. My friends Ink and Ho-Train came over almost daily to play video games, and there were always Ho Hos for us to demolish.

I had cancer, yet was as worry-free as I'd ever been. Instead, I focused on having fun and staying relaxed. I learned that limiting stress could improve one's mental and physical health, and I did it better than anyone. The fact that the ideal cancer patient wasn't "supposed" to have that ability made me feel special.

Everybody has challenges, and I understand that now. But back then I didn't think anyone else's difficulties compared to mine. Yet, they all complained about trivial things. And I just sat back and laughed at them for being such pussies.

Throughout the year I was severely deprived. The periods before being privileged again were possibly my greatest times of joy. Those 60 minutes before my first meal in days, or the morning when I would be released from the hospital and take that first breath of fresh air, or the first blood test that showed my numbers were on the rise. The buildup, in part, made normalcy so unbelievably sweet.


At sixteen I doubt I was fully aware of cancer's benefits. It seems like other cancer patients, and most people for that matter, aren't aware of them either. Thinking that cancer totally sucks might be a defense mechanism, something we perceive so that we're better able to survive. Now that I have been a survivor, I'm able to look back to my time with cancer with a clear head and I see that the Good Life existed.

I will always remember and occasionally get nostalgic for those brief moments of bliss that I'll hopefully never get to experience again.

Continue reading "My Cancer Story": Welcome to the Cancer Life (Part I of III)