Fear or Survivor’s Guilt?
Last updated: June 2022
In the last 7 ½ years I’ve met so many wonderful lung cancer survivors and lost many along the way. Many of them I’ve became close with and bonded regardless of how far we are from each other. We manage to keep in touch and like and comment on each other’s Facebook posts. But many I had to say rest in peace on Facebook. It’s not easy when we become close and form a special bond with our lung cancer brothers and sisters for a short period of time. We get to know each other and their spouses, families, pets and friends. We become an instant family and we all support each other and send them our love, prayers, and hope. But when we lose them to lung cancer I still don’t understand why! Although I’m thankful that I’m still here, at the same time I feel bad that they are not.
Survivor’s guilt or fear
When I hear the news that I lost a lung cancer sister or brother I’m not sure if I have survivor’s guilt or fear. Maybe a little of both! I start to think “am I next,” “am I going to run out of options for treatment.” My husband and friends tell me “this is not your story; you still have a purpose to fulfill and it’s not your time yet.” But I can’t help but to think that way and I know many of us do. I want to do so much; I want to meet more grandchildren and see more milestones and travel to place that’s on my bucket list. But it’s always in the back of my mind “am I next?” “how much time do I really have?” I try not to think that way and continue to stay positive, but this is my reality and many others as well.
I try my best to remain positive
Then I feel bad because they left their little one or their young children behind and here I am meeting grandchildren. They will never get to see their children grow up, attend their graduation, be there when they get married, meet their grandchildren and I have. They won’t get to go to amazing place I’ve been to, help their daughter pick a prom dress or take their son to get a tuxedo for prom, calm them down when their hearts get broken or comfort them when they are having a bad day. I can do all that and have done so. It just makes me feel sad for those that won’t. I often think about it and honestly it drives me crazy, but I remind myself that’s not story and my story hasn’t end.
I still have a job to do
I still have a job to do and finish and maybe it’s to continue to advocate for lung cancer. Maybe I’m the one that will change the way lung cancer is looked at, maybe I’m going to bark so loud that people will finally listen, maybe I’m just here to help others get through their journey living with lung cancer or maybe I’m the one to start a major war against lung cancer. I do know that the torch has been handed to us, so we can continue the legacy. Whatever it is I’m not done yet and will continue to live life and move forward. Making sure to enjoy every minute of it and to continue to bring awareness about lung cancer and educate as many along the way.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?