Featured Story

The Measure of Our Life

by Terry Arnold

I recall the first time I woke up, and the initial thought of the day wasn’t the haunting notion of “I have cancer.”

I initially overlooked that moment. It took me hours into my day to realize that my daily companion, the quiet fear, was no longer present—like a gun no longer held at the back of my head, waiting for an unpredictable trigger click.

For four months, I faced misdiagnosis, and upon finally receiving the correct diagnosis, I was physically uncomfortable. The cancer’s presence was conspicuous even from a non-medical perspective. Oddly enough, I felt grateful to be told, “You have cancer,” as it provided a starting point, after five doctors struggled to identify what was ailing me. I hadn’t anticipated the pain cancer itself could inflict, apart from the discomfort or life-threatening aspects of treatment. Each morning, pain pulsed throughout my body as I slowly rose from bed, feeling as if my bones were creaking, and everything was stiff. My right breast, large, misshapen, dark, and hard, felt like it might auto-amputate—I felt the cancer. Then, after undergoing treatment for a while, I woke up one morning feeling more normal, with cancer not dominating my thoughts. It wasn’t an immediate realization in the first waking hours, but later in the day, I noticed that “I have cancer” wasn’t my initial thought. It marked the first time I felt mentally free from what I had endured. In this publication, you will find an essay by Morningstar, offering a fresh and much-needed perspective on the term NED. I sensed a mental shift, and it felt positive.

A Message From Terry

“Life beyond a cancer diagnosis is indeed a profound and ongoing narrative, filled with challenges and triumphs. However, I have often felt that all we get to share is our ‘cancer diagnosis story,’ and somehow, our lives seem to freeze in that moment. Rarely are we asked about our lives post the date of being told that we or our loved ones have cancer. Personally, I felt like the world had stamped ‘Dead’ on my forehead, and any attempt to discuss dreams or challenges was derailed, now inexorably tied to ‘my cancer history.’

My prayer is that this publication will provide us with a platform to showcase the fullness of ourselves, beyond the label of a person who lived with or during the time they lived with cancer.

Our hope and determination can shine through, highlighting the value of each moment. Here’s to embracing life post-diagnosis and fostering understanding and support among patients, families, researchers, and co-survivors. Hope always.

Terry Arnold

Terry Arnold


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