I had drinks with my friend Libby the other night. I blogged about her some time ago — in the early days following my diagnosis, she profoundly influenced my approach to being informed and self-advocating, and she continues to be pretty much the poster-girl for the dig-your-heels-in, never-give-up attitude toward fighting cancer. This is a good thing, since she has what is sometimes referred to as “the cancer gene.” First, a few years ago, she had breast cancer, followed unbelievably closely by pancreatic cancer, from which she has very recently emerged victorious. (Or victorious “for now,” she would probably say, her guard ever up.)
Anyway, we had a great time, drinking prosecco kirs at a bar down the street and laughing a lot more than people usually do when the subject they’re discussing is cancer, especially the metastasized and extremely aggressive varieties. But laugh we did – and also swear quite a bit.
One thing in particular that earned a string of extra-colourful expletives from me is that, while I am determined to live a long and full life, I’m angry* that my long and full life will include endless fighting against this stupid* disease. Until cancer research makes some enormous advances, metastases means that I just have to keep fighting, forever. And frankly that sucks. As I said to Libby, “We’re lifers; we’re stuck here with this cancer for the rest of our lives!”
“Yes,” she said, “We’re lifers. And it sure beats the alternative.”
We drank to that.
*not the exact words I used last night