Who Am I?
It’s the age-old question. At least I think it is. Who am I? It’s the self-awareness that separates us from any other species. The nagging question we all want to know the answer to. Who am I?
Well, it’s certainly been nagging me. How does the big C word change who I am? I haven’t even gotten used to identifying myself as a “cancer patient” and soon I’ll be fortunate enough to identify myself as a “cancer survivor”. The words don’t roll of the tongue, that much is for sure. Actually, they make me nauseous. There is a struggle within. Part of me wants to embrace this new identity – knowing that it has made me a stronger person. Sure, it was never quite a near-death experience. But it could have been. Hell, I can beat anything now.
And yet, part of me wants nothing to do with this new identity. Part of me says “fuck cancer, I’m done.” I’m sick of the nausea. Sick of the anxiety. Sick of being sick. I want to run as far away from this as possible.
But I can’t and I won’t. This experience will forever change me – there is no getting around that. For starters I will be reminded with routine scans at Dana Farber for the next 7 years. Or how about the next time I tell a friend I have more balls than he does (and then pause). Actually it’s pretty funny/ironic. I mean, I’ve lost a testicle, but grown more “balls”. Hmmm…ok, I’ll stop with that metaphor.
Who am I? I don’t have a simple answer. And I don’t think “cancer survivor” will really capture how this latest chapter in my life has affected my identity. I suppose our experiences continue to shed light on the answer, but there will always be some dark areas. Maybe more than dark areas; sometimes it feels like we’re totally in the dark (with nothing more than a small flash light). Uh-oh, here I go again with another metaphor.
I’m okay without a direct answer. What’s important is that I keep checking in with myself, asking the question, and shedding more light on the matter. This blog has truly given me that opportunity. You have given me that opportunity.
So allow me to provide another answer to this big question and end another entry with my favorite word. Ubuntu; I am because we are.