Progression is a loaded word; from birth to death, we’re barraged with a series of endeavours that Life throws at us, and our progression through each one delineates our path. As we progress and transition through each occasion in life, we tell ourselves that the past is in the past and that’s where it should stay. Moving on from the breaking of a relationship, evolving and growing as we develop new connections. Affairs come and go and as we adapt to new experiences, we just as quickly accept the dissolution of the ones prior.
This was always my outlook on things, especially transitioning from phase to phase of chemo treatment; putting the pain and discomfort behind me as I got prepared for whatever was set to come next. Similarly, moving to Victoria, resuming my studies, and adapting to a new experience, I convinced myself to loosen the once tight grip I held on memories of my past. But as I progress through this new, assumed chapter, I catch myself being reminded; being momentarily transported back to times that I’ve tried so hard to move away from. In one way or another, we’re all taken back to our past experiences, temporarily transported to a static moment in time. But for me, I’m taking back to a moment that sickens me, and where the knowing of progression that used to be so comforting, is non-existence.
Monthly ferry rides home for treatment, binge eating and face puffiness from steroids, make it difficult to maintain ignorance of my past. I’m reminded that one can’t ever really move on from something as consuming as cancer, regardless of where they stand in or after treatment.
I’m beginning to realize that my diagnosis is something that is not just a part of my life, but just simply, a part of me. As I accept this, I can better find ways to try and turn these reminders of the past into positive things.
Even though it is so easy to adapt to this new, University Life, which seems so distant from my life as a cancer patient, I have to remember that that time in my life has shaped who I am now, and continues to do so. Those experiences (which I’ll strive to look at from a positive perspective) will always be present through my redefined attempts at progression.
ON A HAPPIER NOTE, loving this new chapter of my life, regardless of the occasional blast from the past. I plan to find ways to weave my diagnosis into my new life in Victoria, maybe infiltrate this new community with some fresh positivity, and as always, breed some optimism.
- Serena Bonneville