I always felt, from day one of being diagnosed with cancer, that asking "Why me?" was a dangerous road to go down. Although it is an obvious question, and for most people the most immediate question, I tried my best not to ask that of myself. It is a question that can control your life as a cancer patient/caregiver/survivor. It is a question, for many young adults like me, with no answer.
You hear it all the time, stories of young people who are healthy and active, then they are stricken with cancer, and involved in a fight for their life. When I was going through the diagnosis process, I did think, Why is this happening to me? It is only natural. However, I also thought, I am too young to get cancer (as everyone does), people my age don't get cancer very often. But the fact remains, some do. Young adults, teenagers and children are diagnosed every day. Something that became increasingly apparent to me while going through treatment.
I tried my best to avoid "Why me?" because there was no "good" or "correct" answer. Somehow I got into this mess and would have to fight like hell, and have a bit of luck, to get out of it. Some people have situations that cause their chances to increase of getting cancer. I get that. If life was fair, and all things were equal, I probably would never have gotten sick. I was never a health nut, I didn't always eat the best, didn't work out as much as I should have and I did (do) drink from time to time (I was 26!). However, I wasn't super unhealthy (played sports, ate well, avoided things like smoking, tanning) and I was in decent shape (better shape than many people who don't get cancer) and wasn't really exposed to any known carcinogens.
The fact of the matter is, I don't know why I got cancer at a young age (neither does my oncologist) and I will never know. This is very common in young adults with cancer. I can't let myself wonder why. On days when I feel strong, I block it out as best I can. I feel this question can lead to the slippery slope of depression (something that affects cancer patients daily in a lot of cases, myself included) and I don't want to allow that. Some people just have bad luck, and it is really out of their control. They get cancer and their life is changed forever. Apparently, I have bad luck.
I actually never discussed "Why me?" with my oncologist. We had an understanding that we wouldn't wonder why I was here, but rather focus our efforts on getting out of here. Looking back, I find "Why me?" to not matter as much anymore. The fact is, it was me. All I could do was deal with my situation as best I could, as imperfect and sometimes undignified as my battle was.
I understand that some days it is impossible to block it out. It is completely normal to wonder why your body turns on you, why you have to go through this, why, even after treatment the physical and emotional side effects can carry on for years. "Why me?" finds a way to creep in when you are at your weakest, it certainly did for me. Cancer is the only thing that has made me scream in physical pain, and cry for hours from being emotionally drained. When you are at your lowest it can be hard, if not impossible to completely block it out. It is hard to when the questions you ask have no obvious answers.
Cancer is horrible (as are all diseases) that hurt people, or take a loved one too soon. However, these days I try not think about why cancer chose me, or anyone else, but rather focus my efforts on how I can fight back and help others going through their own cancer treatment. It feels good to fight back.