The Double Edged Sword Analogy – By A Cancer Survivor


I wrote this quote a while ago to sum up my feelings as a blood cancer survivor.
Writing has been a great therapy for me relieving bottled up stress by putting my thoughts down on to ‘paper’ and out of my over active mind.  Both rewarding and cathartic and the realisation of a childhood dream.  This post explains what is behind it.

When I planned this I’d found myself using the phrase ‘Double Edged Sword’ a lot when describing my life since being diagnosed with Acute Leukaemia.  Much as it was and still is a devastating diagnosis there are many positive things that have come into my life now. 
I’ve been asked many times how my life has changed since and I’ve always tried to put together an answer that would sum it up but actually for me its hard to define.  The following may help you understand my thoughts;
Here are the negatives;
  • Long terms effects of chemotherapy 
  • Fear of secondary cancer due to intense chemo
  • Loss of my job
  • Loss of confidence in my body and health
  • Issues with my balance leading to embarrassing moments
  • Extreme fatigue & muscle waste
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Cognitive brain problems
  • Relationship changes
  • My changed image, hair loss
  • PTSD and GAD
  • Financial impact
  • My daughter’s emotions
  • Friendship changes

But then all of the wonderful positives;
  • New friendships
  • Renewing old, lost friendships
  • Inner strength and pride that I never had before
  • Clarity on my life and what it really means to me
  • Perspective, its a relief to understand what is truly important
  • Guilt free happiness
  • Volunteering as a Charity Ambassador and fundraising 
  • Finding out how rewarding helping others is when I hear the impact my support has had on their life
  • The confidence to write…a childhood dream of mine
  • Touching gestures of kindness and generosity that I will cherish forever
  • Educating myself and achieving new goals
  • Inspiring others and being inspired

I was chatting to a fellow AML survivor recently and as we were sharing our experiences she proceeded to tell me that overall she is happier with her life now, since her diagnosis.  Even though she is constantly living with the fear of relapse overall her life is better.  Hearing this was great because finally there was someone else with similar thoughts to me. It’s not something I’ve really admitted to many people because it’s a strange conclusion to come to after something so life changing. But it seems that after being given a second chance at life everything has become much clearer to me which is a wonderful feeling, something I’d struggled to see before. At times I would have this fear that my life would pass by before I’d figured it all out, what my legacy should be.  Now I know what I want to do, need to do and I’ve achieved so much in the past 18 months. 

I looked up the definition of this Idiom;

  • Collins English Dictionary – Something has negative effects as well as positive effects.
  • Oxford Dictionary – A situation or course of action having both positive and negative effects.
This is why I often say ‘Double Edged Sword’

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