"Hello From The Other Side of Cancer"

I’ve been hooked on the new Adele song, “Hello,” for the past few days now and finally figured out why. 


I don’t have any long lost loves that I haven’t gotten over or that I’ve felt guilty about hurting. My wife is my soulmate, my first and only love, and we were very blessed to have found each other at such a young age. I relate to the song very strongly instead as a cancer survivor that’s struggled to heal, struggled to move on, and is still in mourning for those younger and more carefree days that Adele sings about. 

“There’s such a difference between us, [my pre-cancer and post-cancer selfs],
and a million miles.” 

I wrote a blog about this feeling or state earlier this year, “On Life and Its Huge Contrasts”, just mourning the loss of so much innocence after having faced cancer as a young adult. It’s been such a rude awakening. I wouldn’t have things any other way and accept life for what it truly is today, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still long for those younger and more carefree days. 

“I’ve forgotten how it felt before [cancer] fell at our feet.”

In “Hello”, it’s like I want to call the pre-cancer version of myself to just see how things are going, wondering how life might have been different. I always feel this way whenever I’m hurting inside, like I am right now. Another round of scans today, and another round of waiting. This is checkup #26, and I’m so damned tired of this. I’m tired of feeling threatened, tired of having to make yet another “emergency landing” because my body, my one vehicle to carry me through this life, tried to kill itself when I was only 33. I just feel trapped and afraid in my own body once again, and how can you ever get used to that? Can you? Is there a such thing as a “routine” emergency landing? Not really, yet that’s what this is, and I resent having to keep going through this over and over again. It’s traumatizing to one extent or another every single time, and I struggle to cope each time.

“They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing.”

I’ve come a long ways, and have actually done a tremendous amount of healing even this year. Yet here I sit late at night after everybody else in the house is asleep, crying my eyes out as I listen to this song on repeat play, really just the first verse. I don’t even know exactly what I’m feeling, but obviously I’m still feeling, and hurting, from all that I’ve been through. A painful past, some nasty scars, the loss of one too many friends, recurrence scares, and so many hard times. I accept it, and embrace it, and no longer try to deny anything that I feel. That just makes things even more difficult. “I’m sorry for all the pain that I’ve caused myself, for having denied my own feelings for so long.” These powerful Scorpio emotions are mine. I own them. It’s a gift to be able to love people as I deeply as I do, but it’s a double-edged sword because of how much I can hurt as well.

“I must have called a thousand times, But when I call you never seem to be home.”

There’s never gonna be an answer, because there’s no going back with this. This is my life now. Once you’re in this club, you’re in for life. I’ll never not be a cancer survivor in this lifetime. My pre-cancer self is out there in a parallel universe somewhere, still living carefree and oblivious to reality, and I’m seething with jealousy of that during these hurtful times. The comfort I take is that I guarantee you, I’ve lived and enjoyed life more each year since cancer more than my pre-cancer self has in all five, still taking everything in life for granted. That’s what it takes to get through this. Live your life. Enjoy it like crazy. Never let a day go to waste. 

We’re two weeks from Christmas, and I’m a wreck. I’m scared as hell for no reason and I know it, but that’s what cancer and post-traumatic stress can do to you. I’m far from my best right now, but I’m doing my best, coping in the best ways I know how, and that’s all one can do. This time will pass quickly, and I’ll be back to enjoying life like crazy again. But right now, with the tears falling, it hurts to the core.     

“Hello from the other side of cancer.”