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.
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.