Surviving Survivorship

Hi friends! I’m back and I’ve missed writing so much. I took a pretty deliberate break during this pandemic to give myself some time to just “be”. It’s been a long, long time hasn’t it? I’ve been feeling these little pushes to get back to writing again, but just haven’t pulled the trigger. The pushes usually come from someone online reaching out and thanking me for sharing my story, which always makes me feel a little bad that I haven’t kept it up – the story telling.

This blog started as something so different from what it’s become, and I will be honest and say I’m still not sure what it is (or should be) after everything. To try and figure it out, I went back and reread some of my earlier posts. I miss the carefree feeling of sharing a recipe or a weekend recap and things now just seem so much more complicated.

The range of emotions and growth I’ve seen in myself over the past 3+ years is pretty astonishing but it also feels like pressure in a way. I’m always thinking about how to write these super meaningful posts, or give a voice to the daily struggles I still deal with in the wake of destruction cancer left.

So I guess I’ll just start here and see where it leads. I do know that I crave the outlet and release of energy blogging gives me so one of my goals going forward to to ease up on the pressure I put on myself when it comes to this space.

So what now?

I’m not the first young cancer survivor to feel lost post-treatment. I’ve read numerous blogs and Instagram posts from my internet-friends on this exact subject – what now? What are these platforms suppose to be now that chemo side effects are fading and my hair is actually a style people would choose.

It’s so confusing because I am back to work, I’m in better shape physically than I’ve been in a long time and I’m laser focused on my mental health. I’m doing all of the things I need to do to make my life full and happy. But cancer is still there – sneaking around in the corners of my mind and ALL over my social channels, not to mention the news. Some days I thrive in that world, some days I sink. It’s hard to see people I know dying. People that received a diagnosis just like me. There is survivor’s guilt… all of the time. There’s also anxiety that if I write things down like “survivor’s guilt” maybe I will jinx myself. There’s worry that if I don’t get my 30 minutes of exercise each day or I eat the donut that I could be sabotaging myself and the cancer will come back. That shit sucks.

Surviving survivorship is incredibly difficult, and it’s the part that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. It should be joyous and relieving but it’s actually irrational and chaotic. A constant battle rages to be the person pre-cancer, but the joke’s on me because that person is so changed it’d be impossible to go back. There is so much good though – I feel like I see things through a wider lens – small disturbances or inconveniences aren’t blown out of proportion anymore. The things some people complain about just make me roll my eyes. I’m grateful to cancer for giving me that perspective.

As we creep closer to Christmas (one like we’ve never experienced before), I’m slowing way down and letting myself enjoy each day. I’m thankful to be carrying a healthy baby girl (a post for another day), and for my little family. I can’t promise what this space will look like in the future – maybe I’ll write this post and then go another year without hitting publish, or maybe I’ll keep it up and use it as another tool in my mental health toolbox. Who knows.

If you’ve stuck around this long, thank you as always for supporting me. xo

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Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

5 thoughts on “Surviving Survivorship

  1. I absolutely love this. I feel like you just said everything I feel about survivorship. Thank you for being so open. It makes me feel validated in they way I’m feeling about things. I am a year and half out from being deemed Cancer free. Thank you for sharing and giving hope!! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very blessed new year!!! And congrats on your new bundle of joy!!!


  2. What a pleasant surprise to find your message today in my email! Thank you! Thank you!
    You are such a talented and honest writer- sharing joys, heartaches, and the nitty gritty of life. I love all the photos you shared. You have a beautiful family and a new baby girl on the way. How exciting!!! I’m so happy for all of you!! Have a Merry Christmas and a very blessed NewYear, Martha!! Thanks so much for your email. I’ve missed hearing from you!
    I still keep you on my prayer list every night.


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