Being a cancer patient and assuming that identity impacts your thinking in all ways. I’d always been somewhat of a control freak, and I suddenly realized my sense of being control was and always had been an illusion. All of my assumptions about my future had been based on the fact that I would indeed have a future. It seemed that had been a false assumption. My future was not something I controlled, as it turned out.
Immediately on assuming the cancer patient role, I gave control of my life to the cancer. My thoughts and activities were suddenly dictated by the disease. Cancer dictated that I would be in a doctor’s office almost every week, cancer dictated that 4 hours of one day a week would be devoted to chemotherapy, cancer dictated that I would be at a hospital pre-registering for lab work (after the wait at preregistration) and having labs drawn (after the wait in the lab) almost weekly. Cancer made the rules, cancer made my schedule, cancer determined my options, cancer determined our budget and my choices, cancer often controlled my thoughts.
I started living one day at a time. I no longer put my faith in tomorrow or next week or next year. They say that is the way we should all live, but in reality,it is a difficult way to live. We live in a very future-oriented culture. I no longer had the ability to make an appoint for dental cleaning 6 months down the road. I could no longer comprehend planning for a future. I couldn’t contemplate my kid’s graduations, continuing my own education, furthering my career or planning for my retirement. I lived one day at a time, that was all I felt I could control.