Sure, life could be easier. I could have a paid off mortgage, a time-share in Florida, plenty of cash for all that little stuff. I could have a skeleton I could trust, and not be deathly afraid of falling and breaking it to smithereens. Sure, I could be in remission without the need to be on a study drug that will never go to market. But, I survive. And I can never complain.
They gave me two years to live and it has been twelve – wow! – ten extra years. “Ya gotta’ be happy with that!” Sure, I’m happy with that, but I would rather live to be an old geezer like everyone else, I don’t want it cut short. But, I’m getting used to the idea of a potential Multiple Myeloma relapse and early death. The relapse three years ago wasn’t nearly as frightening as the original shock of the “C” word in 2005.
Surviving means finding a place for the guilt, as well as the sense of inadequacy. There is also the accumulated responsibility that increases with the “specialness” of surviving. All three things – guilt, inadequacy, and specialness – are hoaxes and smoke up your butt. Survivors just have a little less physicality to work with, we have bad days sometimes. Sure, I feel lucky to be alive most of the time, but the ever-present pending doom keeps me on my toes.