It Touches Everything…


Donna Lee

I am always amazed how much the cancer thought process is ever present in my life, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. Now, I realize this probably sounds ridiculous but it still shocks me each and every time it controls my thoughts.

I guess I should explain…
When I was going through treatment I used to watch TV at home because not only was I not feeling great, but I really could not do much else. I could only watch generic channels; “generic” meaning there was no chance of cancer, illness, or death being mentioned. So basically, I watched HGTV (which I became addicted to, by the way) and the Food Channel. While watching the Food Channel I decided to prepare many new dishes for myself, my family and friends. I figured since I had cancer, I was probably going to die anyway and there was no point worrying about the pounds I was putting on eating all those fattening foods. I was thin before and really didn’t worry about gaining; in fact I was told I could use a few extra pounds. Well I put on what I needed and then some. Like 15 pounds and then some…

Well, something happened I didn’t count on, I survived, and the chemo threw me into menopause. So now I was a chubby lung cancer survivor with really short hair and no clothes that fit. It wasn’t pretty. Of course, I do realize how very lucky I was and certainly don’t want to sound flippant. I know many people might take offense to my complaining about this, but hear me out. This isn’t about my vanity, it’s about my psyche and how the cancer tentacles reach out and touch everything, even your thought processes.

I have been slowly working on losing the extra pounds I didn’t need. But every single time I get close to my thin pre-cancer weight (which by the way I am within 5 pounds of) I freak-out. I mean I really freak-out. I keep thinking, “is the cancer back”? Is that why I am losing weight? (Keep in mind I am paying good money on structured weight lost programs and am within weight loss guidelines.) I actually was within 3 pounds recently and panicked so much; I stopped the program and gained about 6 pounds just to make sure I could! Who thinks like this? Only crazy people, right? As I write this I realize how ridiculous it sounds, but it is the honest to God truth.

I get so angry that this damn cancer has this kind of a hold on me that I hate, hate, hate it. Yet it does, and I just don’t know when it won’t. It permeates everything thing I do, even when I don’t immediately realize it. I am slowly coming to accept this is my new reality and it isn’t going to change.

I also know that I am grateful and humbled and even ashamed that this bothers me. I guess I am still human, and not perfect. I have to remember to count the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me (all 15 of them) and remember the responsibility that I have to the many lung cancer victims who weren’t lucky enough to get chubby for a while.