Perceptions of a Cancer Survivor to a Cancer Thriver
by Karen Koprowski
The depth at which pain is felt deepens with each trauma, until you’re almost see-through. It leaves you near, invisible. I’ve had days of being unsure if I was indeed a ghost, unseen, meandering among the living. My voice small, near inaudible. Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be noticed, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, … healthy enough.
Cancer makes you uncool. Your identity disappears… your hair disappears… The years of practiced proficiency of who you think you are, withering.
A rebirth, if you choose to accept.
Carefully rehearsed phrasing by professionals to ease the discomfort. An innocence lost… and in my case.. and lost, and lost, and lost. Your conscious self, dissolves. An autonomic response, now.. JUST.. surviving. Tumbling in the waves seeking a way to ‘right’ oneself.
You retreat to a protective shell,.. where only few listen for the ocean. Faint… even to me.
My closest loved ones & my doctors… they listened. They knew this vessel had more than the emptiness others may have perceived. And in moments of weakness... maybe, I perceived.
A lonely place to be, where only a select few dare to enter. Most just able to circle the periphery on behalf of self-preservation. Which I, by the way, completely understand and honor.
My doctors… a front-line for life, for health, for self,…for the thriving ocean they knew I was… And what I find most incredible, to them, a job. Remarkable. To me/us.. The coastguard, Marines, Army, Navy, and special forces. The elite teams who share they’re steadiness and calm to save…. You. Me.
We... my fellow THRIVERS, are magic wrapped in gold, filled with glitter. We faced what many fear they cannot endure… and did. We’ve ‘righted’ our way through the tumbling waves, became the ocean and left the shell.
A diamond needs great pressure to form. A complete dissolution of body occurs before the majesty of a butterfly emerges. Magic. ... We took the challenge and thrived.
Spiritually, some say, that cancer is a manifestation of our fears, our anger, words we cannot say. Whatever it is, I honor its power to awaken me to the light that shines around me, and within me… to the beauty that surrounds me. The immense appreciation of people who were/are my confidants, and caregivers. Those who never forgot about the ocean within... Those who didn’t fear the hollow emptiness inside the shell.
It’s near supernatural to describe my continued adoration for you and them. We are on this expedition together. A quiet understanding and gratitude of one another, challenging to describe. I guess in its most simple form… it’s love.
May you all know the ocean you are… thriving, powerful & infinite. Worth every bit of effort to save, cherish and love. If ever retreating ‘back’ to the safety of the shell so carefully crafted, or feeling the loneliness in confusion and worry... Never Ever forget this. You are love and loved. You are abundant and abundance.
And ultimately, no matter what, ALL WILL BE OKAY.
All my very best, always.
With big love, kk