April 9, 2015

I’m a Survivor.


Well, here’s to me.

It’s been one year today since I’ve been out of chemo.

I seem to be taking advantage of every anniversary I can celebrate. The last chemo treatment, the last CT scan, the last doctor’s visit after chemo, the last full moon before the locust when I had chemo…

You name it, I’m celebrating it.

It’s a much happier time. I have not been depressed since the last day I walked out of treatment.

I am, however, grateful and on a mission to make my life what I want it to be.

I want to talk about it.

Strangely enough, everyone asks how you are when you’re sick. During that time, all you want to do is forget. When you’re better, everyone else forgets, and all you want to do is tell people that you’re a survivor.

You’ve beat the odds. You’ve become a medical mystery. You’ve become a miracle.

That’s when you realize that even though you fought to keep your life the same (like nothing was going on), it did go on, and your life’s not the same, and you’re better for it.

Relationships that were strong before, may not be now. Maybe the emotional process drained every ounce out of you both. Maybe they are evaluating their own life, because they no longer have to worry about yours.

Or, maybe the constant celebrating of some semi-imaginary milestone is just annoying. Or, maybe it’s just time for a break.

Family that was once distant, now calls weekly.

Random cards still come in the mail.

What you have realized is that while everyone else in your life is important, the most important person in your life is you. Not in a shallow, conceited way. But it’s important to find what makes you happy. Find your purpose.

Are you just meandering through life looking for a purpose?

If you were sick tomorrow and could do nothing else, would you feel that you had impacted someone’s life?

Would you feel that you brought anything into this world that would remain if you didn’t?

If you didn’t, do you care?

Did you work to live or live to work?

Would you feel that you lived your life, or did you just exist?

I didn’t. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

If the results had been different a year ago, and I had not been so fortunate, I would’ve died my last days thinking that I didn’t make a difference in this world.

I would have asked myself what I had done to make a significant difference in someone else’s life. I would have died knowing that I had worked to work. Died knowing that I had put off all the things I wanted to do for some reason or another.

I’m not sure why I’m still here or why I was chosen, when many others aren’t. I am sure it was my sign to contribute. Even if it’s only to give remote hope to someone else in my situation.

I am sure that it was a free pass to find the life I want. To go, see and do all the things I’ve ever wanted. To live and be the person I was afraid of being before. It is unsettling to some degree, because you breathe deep and laugh out loud, thinking life was never better.

And yet, there’s still a feeling in your gut that you should be doing more. Traveling more, seeing more, calling more, doing more, loving more, laughing more…

So, you begin to look for every possible outlet available to do those things.

And you tell anyone who asks in the process,

“I’m a survivor.”



To Be a Warrior.


Author: Farrah Henry

Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Courtesy of the Author


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Farrah Henry