I recently read an article in our local paper written by a young woman, Danielle Ripley-Burgess who is a 2 time colon cancer survivor. Like me, she has Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that greatly increases the risk of a number of different cancers. Most people are more familiar with the Brca genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer.
I found the article interesting not so much for what she wrote about making her own funeral plans, but for the openness in which she talked about the reality of what it means to live with Lynch Syndrome. It means living your life every day with the knowledge that cancer is a real possibility in your future. It means constant surveillance and tests every year in order to be certain that cancer isn't getting another foothold somewhere in your body. It means accepting the changes that have occurred in your body as a result of treatment. Your perspective on the world brings more realism with it. It is less uncomfortable to discuss death and planning for the future. I often find people are uncomfortable with the mention of what may happen in the future. When you are living with cancer as a very real part of your past, present and possible future, you learn to make peace with it in a more realistic way. It all has to coexist side by side in us. We have no other choice.