I was also grateful that Harmonies for Health let me talk a little about my book plans! Speaking of which, I am excited to say that the Riding the Cancer Coaster manuscript is complete and I am just putting the finishing touches on the cover design and other aesthetic things this week! So, I am hoping to have the book available on Amazon by the start of November!
In the interim, I want to keep sharing awesome articles and information I find related to life as a cancer patient or survivor. Today, I read an article in the Huffington Post called “Learning not to be a cancer-surviving control freak,” by two-time colon cancer survivor Danielle Ripley-Burgess.
I loved the article both because it was incredibly moving and because I related to it on almost every level. My favorite passage from it was the section on reality checkups:
“It's a funny thing that happens when you work for a cause. Or, when you dive so deeply into something that lets wounds from a cancer experience heal, whether it be nutrition, fitness, friends or romance. You start to think there's an invisible bubble around you and begin to believe that all of the work you're doing or love you're feeling will form a new reality for you. You somehow don't feel at risk anymore. You assume you won't get sick again. (Or maybe it's pure hope that overrides the fear). You don't expect the hangups. You've barred the doors to pain to keep them from opening. Very subtly, and often unconsciously, you believe you've somehow overtaken the reigns of control. That is until the days come when reality hits again. And you realize you're not in control.”
Then, I heard my good friend had relapsed for the fourth time. Having experienced my own relapse eight years ago, I was overcome once again by the prospect of having no control over my future. As suddenly as I had picked up my reigns of control, they once again fell out of my hands. I consistently find myself in this cycle of gain and loss of control.
I also ironically have trouble following my own advice because as I continued to read through Ripley-Burgess’s article I found a statement all too familiar to me and so similar to what I have written in this blog so many times. Ripley-Burgess writes: “It’s not in my power to stop polyps from forming or my genes from mutating. I can’t control what scares or realities will or will not come my way, now or in the future. But I can control what’s around me that gets me through.”
So, as I have emphasized in the past, and as Ripley-Burgess so articulately and movingly points out in her article, surround yourself with people and things that will get you through and don’t focus so much on the element of control. I thought I had learned that lesson, but I clearly have not and I am glad to have awesome survivors out there who can write articles like this one to share such reminders.
We may not be able to control how cancer impacts our present or our future, but we can ensure that we are surrounded by meaningful experiences and uplifting people.