Cancer is in some ways different from other diseases. Nowadays no one will call us “cured”; even after 5 years cancer free, we are just long-term survivors. So we never feel cancer is really “gone”. I have survived long enough now that I don’t worry about my cancer recurring (17 years NED), but I probably still occasionally worried about it recurring at 10 years. Our perspectives as cancer survivors may be different from those with other diseases, even chronic ones. It is always in the background of our lives.
I’ve tried to come to terms with a fear of dying, especially when I was younger. I think I am fortunate to be a nurse. I am very aware life is not fair. I’ve worked in a lot of ICUs and seen many people die before their time. A headache was really an aneurysm that ruptured and caused death, a child died trying to retrieve a toy from a 5 gallon bucket. I’ve seen many people with chronic diseases that have left patients with no quality of life. Physically, once I got past the cancer surgery and all of the chemo, I have physically had a great quality of life. I was in New York City and walked past the Twin Towers on September 6th, and just a few days later 3000 people who were healthy and working lost their lives. When I fear dying I try to remember these things.
Life is short and we are all here just here on a journey. I believe in a soul and am Christian, so believe in an afterlife in Heaven. I’ve read many books on heaven and near death experiences that have given me confidence in my beliefs. I’d be happy to share m book list!
I read a quote the other day I loved, “I am not a body, I have a body. I am a soul.”