A grateful patient not behaving gratefully

Last updated: January 2022

Learning a bit about each of you, through sharing your stories, takes me to a new level of admiration for your tenacity, and determination for a meaningful life after cancer. It also takes me to another level of disbelief at the manner in which I'm handling my life since being diagnosed with Bladder cancer.

This is the end

I wasn't even sure if the word cancer should be capitalized or not, but that is so indicative of the problem I am having: I am not acknowledging the fact that I did have cancer. In my mind, the doctor removed it, and it's over and done. Except for the every three-month scope appointments, the days in between, again in my mind, are cancer-free.

Cancer came from left field

Maybe it was the shock of discovering the cancer. After all, I had only gone for an annual check-up. With no symptoms of anything being wrong in my body, the news was a bit jarring, to say the least. A transurethral resection of the bladder tumor for early-stage disease was performed, and I required no additional treatment. Yes, it was caught in time, for which I am extremely thankful.

Denial can be just as deadly

Yet . . . From the onset, every doctor I had interaction with had adamantly warned that tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for developing bladder cancer. They have all said the chance of the cancer returning is very low; however, if I continue to smoke it will return quickly. And, I am still smoking! Now, how stupid am I? Yes, I know I'm not being realistic, and, no, I do not have a death wish. It seems to be more of a denial factor, in spite of trying every form of smoke-stopping method, which didn't help.

My children and grandchildren are furious with me, the doctors urge me to 'try harder', and I'm not liking myself very much these days.

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