Before and after

CN: cancer

Another cancer patient once asked me if I was grateful I’d gotten cancer. The answer is definitely no, but. There’s that but, that’s the problem.

There are lots of ways I could divide my life: pre and post moving to the UK, for example. Pre and post various traumas. Pre and post disability. Pre and post coming out. But cancer definitely changed my life in a sudden and obvious way, and so that’s how I divide my life these days: before I had cancer, and since.

I’ve written before about how getting cancer changed my outlook on life. I’m now almost five years out from finding my lump, and my life is very different to how it was before.

Different in good ways, and in bad.

The bad is mostly health-related: my chemo fatigue never went away, and all my other conditions got a little bit worse post-chemo.

The good is a lot of things: new friends, closer family relationships, partway through transitioning, working out the rest of my identities. Getting my autism diagnosis. Regular-ish blogging/writing, even. I’m getting better at setting boundaries, at knowing my limits. I feel more me than I think I ever have.

I’d never say I was glad I got cancer, but there have definitely been some positives that have come out of that whole experience. Would I have preferred to have had the positives without the cancer? Obviously, but it is what it is, and getting cancer definitely gave me the push I needed to take steps to improve my life.

So, to answer the question at the top, I’m not grateful for the cancer, but I acknowledge there were some beneficial effects. I just wish I could have had the personal epiphanies without the cancer.

© bardofupton 2021

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