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Ten Years On: Survivor’s Guilt from Cancer

Exactly ten years ago today, I was fourteen-years-old and had just been diagnosed with A.L.L. leukaemia. Within 12 hours, my biggest worry had changed from boy troubles (and lack of them) to whether I was going to live. Whilst hearing the words ‘blood cancer’ will be a memory that will stick in my mind forever, the past ten years have been a bit of a blur.

I’m also not entirely sure what to do with today. You see – despite a decade flying by, the dreaded survivor’s guilt is still in full force. This inner peer pressure makes me feel ungrateful for not grabbing every day by the balls. Exploring. Brunching. Smiling. Living. Travelling. Breathing. Doing everything. But most of all, showing my gratefulness for a second chance at life.

Unfortunately, not my bedroom but I probably would find it easier to relax if it looked like this. Photo from Pexels.

Feeling content in the moment is something I struggle with on most days never mind a day like today. Part of me feels the need to go out and do something crazy, or at least something I’ve wanted to do for a while. But then there’s the other part of me – the part that simply can’t be bothered. I’m tired and want to spend this rare Bank Holiday Monday in bed watching trashy TV. My body is yearning out to relax before reality kicks back in tomorrow.

It’s also the part I struggle to accept the most. Truthfully, it feels like the more I accept the normalities of life – such as having duvet days – I am not making the most of life. However, as time goes on or even a decade in this instance – that ‘settled’ part starts to get bigger, and bigger. Life becomes more normal – you have a job, and therefore get need to rest up. You also gain financial responsibilities and can’t buy ‘experiences’ every day because guess what? You’ll run out of money.

Although the desire to relax is getting bigger, it doesn’t mean the transition is any easier. It’s something I struggle with deeply – focusing on living in the moment to well, living for the future. For example, if I have a rest day today, I am more likely to have a productive week at work. Or if I don’t go out and spend money for the sake of FOMO, then it’s more money for the future. For bigger goals like finally learning to drive or saving for a house deposit.

To tell you the truth guys, I have no bloody idea the point of this post. I just felt like writing, and so here I am. I often find that getting thoughts out of my head and into sentences, helps me make sense of it all. And whilst I haven’t fully worked out what I want to do today, I have come to a conclusion of what I do in fact, need. To take it bloody easy on myself. And to stop feeding into this fire of guilt that if I don’t go out outside, I’m ungrateful to be alive. I just need to work out the balance. But at least I’m now making a start by making sense of my thoughts with this blog post.

2 Comments

  • Rachel

    I can relate so much to this post, I am also ten years on from cancer and know exactly what you mean about the guilt. I really struggle to chill! You’re not alone!

    May 6, 2019 at 2:55 pm Reply
    • mynameisbekki

      Wow, Rachel – this has blown my mind as I don’t know anyone else who feels the same. I’m really sorry you went through the same experience, and also have the survivor’s guilt feeling. It’s a tough feeling to deal with x

      May 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm Reply

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