For a few days I used “Post Brain Cancer” as my cancer-related status, but it kind of ate at me (just like cancer ironically). Mainly because I’ll never get to be cancer-free, so what is post-cancer for those of us after brain cancer treatment? Some other cancers can be surgically removed with additional surrounding tissue in an effort to get it all. But not brain cancer. When surgery is an option, as much of the tumor as possible is removed, but brain surgery doesn’t include any extra surrounding tissue, and sometimes doesn’t even remove all of the actual tumor. Even worse, some brain tumors are inoperable.
As a person who’s had some of my brain removed, trust me, I’m not saying, “Oh, I wish they had taken more!”. However, there is a questionable status there. Am I cancer free? No. But do I have cancer? How do I even answer that? I don’t really feel like I do. It’s been three and a half years since my surgery and two and a half since my chemotherapy. Emergency mode is mostly over (though I believe there might be a permanent trickle). So what’s normal and what’s my status? I’ve thought about it a lot and decided on Brain Cancer Freeish for the time being.
Some may wonder why the terminology even matters. Because you go where your eyes go. How one sees themselves dictates how they’ll act. Not that they have control over everything, of course not. But people do have control over the way they frame things. I’ve had some things change due to brain surgery, but I’m not choosing to represent cancer and it’s sickness. Fuck cancer! I’m here to be me. I still matter. I don’t want to look at myself as a victim, make excuses for things I can strive for, or be someone people feel sorry for. Yet I do want to be fair with myself when I go through challenges.
I need to be clear that this is an empowering framework, not denial of, or a challenge to the medical data in my charts. I’m describing how I see MYself determines which road I take, and how the same goes for everyone. We’ve all heard of high achievers in life who actually had very low grades in school, as well as scholastic achievers not achieving much in the workplace. That’s where I see personal perspective having an impact. I refuse to empower challenges in my life by framing myself as a victim. I strive to be the best I can be which involves having to learn things in different ways as well as work harder and longer than I ever had to. So for now as I work extra hard on my steady path within my positive framework, knowing I’m not really cancer-free, yet embracing the positive, healthy life I strive to live, I now pronounce myself Brain Cancer Freeish.