My analogy of a cancer diagnosis is one of having lived my entire life on a cruise liner. I never had to think about steering this ship, or where I was going. I gorged on the buffet laid out before me, without consciousness. It was easy, but unsatisfying.
On diagnosis I felt that I had been cast out of the liner into a small row boat. Attached to the rest of society by a flimsy rope, life became a struggle to keep up. I felt isolated. Friends and family, still aboard the liner, waved at me eating cake, drinking wine, cheering me on. And I looked up longingly, misguidedly thinking that all I wanted was to get back onto that ship.
Over time I started to look around me, to see the beauty of life inside my boat, the responsibility that I now embraced, and the madness of life on the liner. I began to steer my little boat, and wish that others (cancer free of course) could join me in the beauty of my adventure.
I cut the rope.
Sometimes the storms down here are rough, but they are never less than exciting. I feel connected to the waves, vibrant and alive. I am constantly learning how to navigate this journey.
And when I look closely, I see a community of little boats, an armada. I am not alone. I never was. I was just in the wrong boat.