Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I read in the newspaper today an article that says people over 50 who are struck with cancer or another life threatening or chronic illness are susceptible to depression. The article then went on to explain why people over 50 who've had cancer are susceptible. It gave very reasonable sounding guesses and ideas of how we could help them combat the depression.

As I was reading it I was feeling a bit dubious about the extra sensitivity this age group has regarding cancer. Then my suspicion was confirmed when at the end of the article it stated that only people over 50 and who were living independently were studied.

So anyone under that age of 50 was just assumed to rebound better. Truthfully the entire study and it's assumptions are severely lacking when it doesn't include my age or anyone else. Am I really rebounding better? Am I not feeling the weight of the 5 years of post cancer life on me? I hate that these studies are incomplete and the outcomes are assumed. I hate that there seems to be a big black hole for having cancer between the ages of 18 and 50. I had so many appointments with my GP putting out fires and dealing with the aftermath of my stem cell transplant that the Dr finally suggested I should 'see someone' about living with chronic illness.

Just stating to me that I have chronic illness was enough to knock me off my socks. I'm sure that I could have come to that conclusion myself but my brain was so hell bent on getting better like I would shed a cloak and walk into the light.

So this recovery is a process. Processes within processes. Now at almost 5 years I feel so ultimately crushed, I have no idea what to do. It's like continuing to take it step by step forward when your feet have been cut off.

So where was I supposed to find someone to talk to about living with chronic illness at the age of 36? Almost 5 years and I still feel like a square peg in a round hole.

The only time I get to feel like I belong somewhere because someone can actually see me for who I am, is my main oncologist. That doesn't seem right. I'm invisible.

One of the most helpful things I've heard in quite sometime was Mathew Zachary from the i2Y Foundation state that he was 10 years out from his cancer and still felt lost. Life didn't make sense to him yet. I am so grateful for that small comment because we have such high expectations for ourselves and 5 years out/still struggling feels like a failure of the biggest kind.


Dawny said...

I'm just in the midst of my finals (have been studying for a Therapeutic Counselling Diploma)

One book which has had a powerful impact on me and others on my course is:

Viktor Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning.

It may help give you a different perspective...

(But totally understand if not) :O)


Caroline said...

This article was sent to me by a friend who is an 8 year survivor of Stage III Lymphoma (I think it was)
I am thirty years (really) out from my first diagnosis. Its just as traumatic at 19 as at 36 or 45 or over 50. Cancer is a chronic disease. My doctor now calls me complicated. I think you need a different doctor who is a bit more compassionate and doesn't send you off to find someone who can help you with a chronic disease.

BaldyLocks said...

Dawny, I had that book in my hand at the book store a couple of days ago. That's the one I was trying to remember to get from the library. Thanks guys, I will read both of those :)

Dawny said...

Wow :O)

If you get it, would love to know what you thought of it