Belle Colon Cancer The following post is reprinted with permission from the Colon Club, one of the groups where Belle wrote about her journey with cancer. You can find more of her posts on their website - ColonClub.com Giving Cancer it’s Due…….NOT!!!!! In my last blog, which I called “Surviving the Day”, I almost didn’t publish it because I thought it was so depressing that no one would want to read it. But I did publish it and I got some wonderful feedback from those who read it (thank you all so much!). But I really hate to be a Debbie Downer. I thought I should write a follow up blog to offset how depressing the last one was. Yin-Yang and all that good stuff. I’d certainly have plenty to write about. After all, these past five years, as difficult and challenging as they have been, have not been all bad. To mention just a few of the highlights, I was blessed to have been selected as a 2012 Colondar Model. I participated in Fight Colorectal Cancer’s 2012 Call on Congress and have tickets to attend again this year, along with my two kids and one of my BFF’s. I participated in the filming of a Public Service Announcement for Fight Colorectal Cancer. Every week I get to write my “Survivor Sunday” post on the FaceBook page for “Get Your Rear in Gear” and I’m considering sponsoring a GYRIG 5K run in our community later this year. Not knowing how long I have to live has motivated my family to travel to places we might have otherwise postponed – Hawaii, Orlando, Cape Cod, Napa Valley, D.C. and so many more. I’ve made many new friends from all over the country – some of whom I’ve had the honor of meeting in person either locally or through my various travels. I could write about the outpouring of love and support I have received from doctors, nurses, friends, neighbors and even total strangers. I could write about how much I appreciate the simple things in life and the joy in each and every day I am blessed to have with my family – not knowing from one scan to the next when the other shoe will fall and everything will come to a crashing end. I could write about strength, fears, perseverance, determination, faith and love. And I’ve tried. I’ve tried so many times to write such a blog but it just won’t come. Because CANCER has NOT made my life better. I know it’s taboo to utter such heresy, but it’s true. My life has ALWAYS been challenging, difficult, exciting and rewarding. I don’t think you can have one of those dynamics without having them all. Cancer has caused me to shift gears but it hasn’t given me some sort of divine gift, inspiration or “ah-ha moment” that I haven’t previously experienced or wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s right – I’ll say it – I am not a better person because of cancer. The simple truth is that I am in control of my life; not cancer. Cancer is nothing more than a disease. A terrible, awful, horrible disease that comes with horrific treatment options. Cancer has caused me to pursue different paths than I might have otherwise. It has led me to different experiences, to meet different people, to pursue different passions. Yet I refuse to be defined by my cancer or to give it credit for ANYTHING that I have accomplished. I have done what I’ve done in spite of cancer, not because of it. I’ve met a number of people who claim they are grateful for their disease and that because of it they are better people. I take them at their word, not having walked in their shoes. But I’ve put plenty of miles in my own shoes and I have never viewed cancer as a blessing. I may sound bitter and although I’m sure a part of me still harbors some resentment towards cancer; for the most part I’ve gotten past that. My life has changed because of cancer in ways I didn’t expect or imagine. But it’s been my choice to determine my path – to live life to its fullest, as I’ve always done. I refuse to role over and accept cancer as my ultimate defeat and demise – at least not just yet. As with most things, there has been much compromise. I’ve learned that I have less control over certain aspects of my life than I’d like to admit. I’ve learned how to better manage my time and energy and to recruit help when I need it. Still, for however many days I have left, I will live my life in a way that I see fit – always conscious of the compromises that must be made and the inevitable changes required of my best made plans. I have cancer and cancer is a big part of my life. Cancer has influenced my choices, but it does not completely control them – at least not yet. Go ahead cancer, keep throwing me lemons. I’ll keep making lemonade. I’ll keep looking at my glass as half full until it’s completely empty. And even then, will I give credit to cancer for the amazing life I look back on? Hell no. I’ll look back on all the great times I had, all the great people I met, the great places I got to visit and all the amazing life experiences – and give credit where credit is due. To me, my family and my friends who made it all possible. Sorry cancer, I give you no credit – no due. I will never write about how cancer has enriched or blessed my life. That is SO not going to happen. Cancer is a terrible disease. Nothing more, nothing less. It influences my choices, but it does not completely control them. Not just yet anyway. Cancer hasn’t made me any more of a warrior or survivor than I’ve always been. I never chose to have cancer. But I can choose how to live with cancer.