Thursday, March 23, 2017

Facing My Own Mortality

I participate in online lung cancer support groups. It seems like there is a daily post from a caregiver or family member regarding their loved one's lung cancer death. Hearing these stories makes me sad for those families. It also makes me angry. I HATE lung cancer. But after hearing and processing the horrible news of another life lost, my thoughts go elsewhere. I know every lung cancer is different. I think to myself, that's not me, that's not my cancer. I'm so lucky to be as well as I am.

This last week there was a death that hit me hard. It took my thoughts to places they haven't gone. It wasn't a lung cancer death. It was the untimely death of a former co-worker. He was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee that missed a turn on a mountain road and went down a ravine. Two of the five people in the vehicle died.

It's so unfair. Jacob was a young, smart, healthy, fun loving prankster with his whole life ahead of him. Why is he gone and I'm still here? I have stage iv lung cancer. Shouldn't I, the one with the terminal illness, be gone and Jacob should be here living out his life and carrying out his practical jokes?

I have heard of survivor's guilt. I thought I experienced it. Well, whatever I felt while reading news of a lung cancer death was nothing compared to the feelings that have come up since Jacob's death. I know it sounds strange to experience survivor's guilt in this situation. I wasn't in the accident. He didn't have lung cancer.

I was diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer in August 2015. To tell you the truth, I've thought of my impending death. It's inevitable that one day lung cancer will take my life. I came to terms with that early on. What is difficult to process is the new thoughts of, why am I still here? I have never questioned that. My thoughts, until now, have always been along the lines of, "how lucky am I to be here", not, "why aren't I dead yet?"

I'm a genuinely happy person. My blog is Peace Lungs & HAPPINESS. Can I get back to my happy go lucky self again? I've heard the saying, you can't unsee something. Can I unthink these dark thoughts? Will I always doubt my current existence on this earth? They also say, time heals all wounds. I hope that in time I can get back to appreciating and enjoying every moment of the rest of my life without questioning it.