We’re On This Crazy Ride Together

By Tami Boehmer

It’s a weird dichotomy, the highs and lows of this whole crazy ride as someone living with cancer. I feel on top of the world, and then a dose of reality hits me.

Recently two young and well-followed breast cancer bloggers passed away: Rachel Moro from the Cancer Culture Chronicles and Susan Niebur from Toddler Planet. I occasionally followed Rachel’s blog and didn’t find Susan’s until she passed, but there they were, just like me, writing about their lives with cancer. Just last month, Rachel was contemplating going to her 25th high school reunion. And now they’re gone – a reminder of the darker side of this journey. I read their last blog posts with heartbreak, wondering how this cruel disease can take away so many young people, many with young children.

It happened again when I was going through my list of Facebook friends to invite to my St. Patty’s Day book signing. On the list are almost a dozen people who are no longer with us; many of them were very close to me. I have a friend right now who is literally struggling to stay alive. I often say it feels like a battleground, and I literally feel numbed by the level of loss.

So how do I reconcile that I’m bursting with excitement about my life and opportunities coming my way? I’m living my dream, doing what I love, connecting with people around the world and traveling to neat places. I’m not rich, but my life is. I love my husband and daughter. I have wonderful friends. I finally seem to be purging old issues that use to hold me down. There are so many things coming up with my book (look at my events page, and you’ll get an idea.) But like any good story, it needs conflict, so I have this issue of cancer hanging in the background.

I heard a funny thing from a friend on Facebook. She was presenting to a group of middle school kids and received a note afterward from one of them. “I want to be just like you … except for the cancer part.” I laughed because it’s so true and honest! Nobody wants something like cancer in their lives, but, wow, has my life changed because of it!

I remember speaking with someone living with metastatic breast cancer who advised me not to hang out with other cancer survivors. She instead recommended being with “normal people.” I chuckle now, wondering, “Who are those “normal people?” I think she really missed out on the amazing fellowship only a fellow cancer survivor can provide. Sure, by isolating from other cancer survivors, I could maybe avoid the pain of loss and fear that goes with having a friend pass away. But my life would not be as rich.

I do know these losses make me more motivated than ever to help others on this journey in my own small way. We are indeed a band of brothers and sisters, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tami Boehmer is a metastatic breast cancer survivor, speaker, blogger and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds, available on her site, Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. You can visit her at www.MiracleSurvivors.com.





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1 Comment

  1. wthallman@yahoo.com

     /  May 11, 2012

    Who I am is unemportant—-just thank you for this message


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