Well my dear friend has just left and I am sitting here feeling quite reflective. I was fortunate enough to have someone, who I have known since we were babies, with me this week and it was the best medicine for me. She came laden with goodies and spent the week cooking and cleaning for me. But more important then any eggplant parmigiana or flour-less chocolate cake were the talks. We talked a lot. About everything. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I miss the people who have known me and I have a history with until I spend a good few days with them again. It is so easy, natural and effortless. There is such a comfort in it and at a time like this it helps me stay sane.
Through our intense and even intellectual discussions, we talked a lot about how I have grown increasingly afraid in the last few months. Afraid of all sorts of things like break-ins, gypsy pickpockets, natural disasters, medical emergencies, anything bad happening to my family….I could go on and on. I have spoken about much of this before but it has become increasingly worse and almost like an obsession for me. I wanted to understand why I felt this way and now I think I do.
I have been a confident and strong woman for most of my life and also been through my share of ups and downs. I went to 6 different schools during elementary and secondary school (not an easy thing to do) and managed to make friends wherever I went. I spent a good portion of my earlier life willingly waking up at 5am most days while my peers pressed their snooze buttons to jump into an icy pool to swim up and down a thousand times. I also decided at the age of 24 to throw my life upside down and follow a dream to move to Europe. I can be quite fearless and gutsy at times. I rarely look back and when I want something I go for it with a fierce determinism.
But these days I sometimes don’t even recognize myself. I have moments of such self doubt and weakness, moments where I don’t quite know my function or identity and moments when I am just plain afraid. I am afraid of so many things because I feel so vulnerable. I used to be independent but now after being sick I experienced being weak and requiring nonstop care and help. I am so fortunate to have had such a wonderful support system around me to get through this but at the same time having experienced this vulnerability and facing my own mortality, I don’t feel as brave or self assured as I used to be. I mean if something happened how could I do this on my own? The thought makes my blood run cold. And as I have learnt – no one can predict the future and you can be utterly blind-sided by life. I so hope nothing else happens and I am able to slowly start to build my life back up again. This will include finding my new identity which I am still unsure of what it will be. It is hard right now as I am not a full time cancer patient anymore nor am I am full time stay at home mother. I don’t have a job to go to each day nor do I have the energy to seek one out yet. I am between worlds and desperately want to find me again and stand on my own two feet abit more. I also don’t want to be afraid and I want to live as if I won’t ever get cancer again. What other way should there be right?
I know I need to be patient with myself and that I can’t change everything overnight. Little steps day by day as I begin to carve out a new me. Acknowledging progress, any amount, will be essential to not feeling defeated or more vulnerable. I also think being realistic will be important in trying to achieve this. I can’t do this overnight, or even over a few weeks, this will be a new lifetime project for me. But I am committed to getting there because that is the type of person I am. The type of person who tackles a challenge and comes out of it - a better, stronger version of myself.
In other news - I will be having a big appointment on Tuesday morning which has also been weighing on my mind. In the cancer world, our checkups are synonymous with worry and anxiety. Depending on your diagnosis and time post treatment, these can vary from every 3 months to 1 year. This is the first big one for me – the one year post diagnosis check up. I am not totally sure what they will do but they will test my blood for any biomarkers (signs of tumours), feel my glands and investigate any areas of pain. Perhaps scans if required. You so want everything to be okay because after going through it all once you just cannot imagine or mentally handle hearing or living through it all over again. So please send happy thoughts my way Tuesday and I look forward to writing about how well things go.
Happy Easter everyone! Eat lots of chocolate.
0BB (My new name is now the number zeroBB as it is much more fitting for me post surgery but also stays true to the original. I would like to thank a regular reader of this blog for her creative suggestion.)