Nov 16, 2003 - 2:23 pm
I'm a single guy, live alone, diagnosed at age 37, stage II renal cell carcinoma, right kidney, July 2000. Three days later I was in surgery for a radical nephrectomy, tumor, kidney, lymph nodes, etc.
It was all handled very quickly and matter-of-factly, no emotion, no tears. I never felt sad, or mad, or any of those other stages you're supposed to go through. Everyone thought it was best if we just glossed over it and pretended like it was nothing more than a tonsilectomy. My friends tell me that since I didn't need chemo that it's not like having real cancer anyway. Very few of my friends even thought it was important enough to come visit me at the hospital for the five days I was there. So I recovered from surgery and went back to work. My boss laughed when I used the term 'cancer survivor' once. She said 'cancer survivor' is when you've had chemo for years and years, not a simple surgery. I personally didn't think the surgery was so simple, but I have never used the term again.
The last three years have not been good... lots of alcohol, lots of time alone, I've lost my job, I don't talk to my friends or family much anymore. I've had one illness after another and to be honest I haven't taken very good care of myself. Not like i used to. I'm a robot. It's taken me a long time to realize this (i guess i'm no rocket scientist) but I'm really beginning to feel that maybe I've never dealt with the cancer, and I just don't know how to feel anymore.
Has anyone every encountered this? Is this normal? My friends and family didn't even want to talk about this three years ago, I don't know where i could turn now.