A few weeks ago I had major bowel surgery for a non-cancer issue. The doctors removed what was needed, but while inside me discovered something totally unexpected: a series of tumors which tested as a cancerous tumor. The good news: it’s a carcinoid, one of the slowest growing cancers. It can be in a person’s body for years, even decades, before causing problems. But it still can be deadly. Median lifespan, based on when diagnosed and how far it’s spread (as to the liver), is 16-20 years after diagnosis. I’m in my twenties now. I saw an oncologist who said not to panic, that this was something I would have the rest of my life likely, but nothing grave at this point. It used to be that the life expectancy for carcinoid patients was much lower, but in recent years new medicines have prolonged the median lifespan, and I expect this trend to continue.
A question I have: how does living with cancer affect the remainder of one’s life?
I know there are some things I cannot do, such as give blood. I wonder though, would certain professions/vocations be blocked to me? I’m in the financial industry now but have thought about changing to something more suited to my abilities. I’ve thought about seminary in the past, but wonder now if cancer would automatically block me.
I’ve also thought about something related to healthcare (after my personal experience with the system, which was kind of fascinating ), but wonder if they do not want people with cancer in this field either (because of potential exposure to x-rays, radioactive material, etc.) I’ve long also thought about pursuing a PhD in theology (I already have an MA). Would cancer be an issue were I to pursue this route, towards becoming a professor?
Another related question: can I still hope to get married and have a family? Is the vocation of marriage still open to me?