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Remission: A New Perspective

by Ruth KavanaghPatient, Brain CancerSeptember 27, 2020View more posts from Ruth Kavanagh

Based on a Quote from ANITA MOORJANI: “ I turned the word “remission” into “Remember my mission”. Tell yourself: “I’m done with cancer, and now it’s time for me to remember my mission.”

“Remission”

I cringe when I hear the word. I especially cringe when I’m asked, always in a high-pitched, much too enthusiastic tone,

“So are you in remission now?”

I know and understand why people ask. I also know that by asking in a gleeful way, it’s because they hope the answer will be a resounding “Yes!”

Personally, the question only forces me to immediately assess, right there on-the-spot how I’m going to answer every single person who asks. Do they want the truth? Are they simply asking because it’s what society has dictated we do when we see a young adult, who doesn’t look “sick”? Also, do I really want to go into the ugly details of it all? How much time do I/we have?

Some potential answers to the remission question include:

So, while it’s confirmed there are no cancerous cells in my body, do I feel like I am “in remission”? Absolutely not!

I can’t even begin to list all the ways cancer remains with me, but ya name it, and cancer has affected it.

For example, just the most mundane, everyday things:

So, already what would’ve taken a fully able-bodied person to do in 5-10 minutes has taken me at least 20. That’s on a good day too.

This whole process takes at least 30 minutes, while an able-bodied person could be done in 5-10 minutes.

Now, those few examples are just a taste, a sprinkling of what cancer has done to me physically, mentally and emotionally.

I love that other survivors can embrace the remission word, and I recognize the power that comes with the ability to say, “I’m in remission.” That’s just not the case for me.

Further, I wish I could say, “Cancer doesn’t define me!” like so many other survivors. However, for me cancer is and will always be present despite the fact that my physical body is “cancer free”.

Cancer is and will always be a part of me. It is a crucial piece of who I am today and who I will be in the future.

Plus, cancer will forever lurk in the darkest corners of my mind. Unless there’s some magical potion we discover one day, I will forever have to acknowledge/be aware that a tumor could indeed return at any time. It’s not something I dwell on, but shall I say, “it’s the nature of the beast.” Cancer can and does come back. I’ve already experienced a recurrence. So, I’m literally living proof of this awful truth.

The quote from ANITA MOORJANI on remission speaks to how I’ve internalized cancer in my life. Although I’ll never be able to say, “I’m done with cancer” I have indeed turned it into my “mission”. Hence, why I began writing a Blog, am working towards publishing articles on my experience, and ultimately I hope a book.

Cancer also led me to finally find my passion working with various nonprofits to raise awareness about cancer in general, but mostly awareness about brain cancer; to serve as a patient advocate with the National Brain Tumor Society; and, to constantly fundraise for more research, treatment options and Dear Lord please, ultimately a cure!

Yes, it took two bouts of brain cancer to find it, but I found my passion-my mission! While every single day is a new challenge, every single day is also an opportunity to work on myself.

So, after discovering this quote I’ve found a new perspective on “remission”. It’s my mission.


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.

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