Saturday, April 7, 2012

Drifting between worlds

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.)


  1. I always read your posts, although I don't always comment. Your posts always give me food for thought.

    I remember when you decided to move to Europe on your own and I knew I would never have the nerve to do something like that.

    I remember when I first had Sarah, I became even more of a worrier that I was before becoming a mom. Worrying about everything. Feeling moments of such indecision over the silliest things. Always worrying something would happen to me, to Adam to Sarah. I know it is not the same thing, but I think it is perfectly normal and you are right to go easy on yourself.

    Good luck on Tuesday. I will be thinking of you and sending you positive vibes.

    1. Lisa, Thanks for ure thoughtful comment. It makes me feel much more normal. Having kids does make us much more afraid as there is so much more to lose. And I cant believe it has been over 7 yrs since I made that fateful decision and in some ways I feel like it set a plan in motion that led me to this day and to be being healthy and ok. x

  2. Dear Kate,

    Glad to know that you are recuperating well after your surgery. You are ever so reflective and honest in your posts, I hope that's one way to help you vent out your inner emotions. At the same time, I think it offers us good moments of valuable thinking as we share your feelings.

    Despite the damaging effects it has done on our lives, the cancer world has somehow made us stronger people, more intuitive, and realistic. We become more aware of who we are - our weaknesses, personal defects, strengths and goodnesses. Like it or not, we simply have to train our minds daily to accept the situation, the vulnerability, the fear, and uncertainty in daring mortality. Your big appointment and checkups tomorrow morning is another form of challenge which you will have to face for the rest of your life. I still remember my first checkup and diagnostic mammogram after my chemo treatments. It was so scary. I kept praying as I impatiently waited for my turn in the cancer clinic, sweating of course, and in much worry and anxiety. I kept praying at that time,"Oh please,don't let anything happen to me again. I will be good God. I want to live." And when I got back the result in two days and things were just fine, what a big joy and relief again!

    So,dear Kate, I can connect with your obsession and fear. This is now my fourth year in surviving cancer. Each year I go to the hospital for examination and mammogram, I still cannot conquer the same fear. Whenever I feel any anonymous pain, it makes me doubtful and the fear haunts me too. All we can do is try to stay calm and have positive thinking. Look after ourselves well. Love ourselves more, and have things checked out as soon as possible. Like you've said, you have been a confident and strong woman for most of your life. So live up to that BELIEF!. You understand you have been through lots of ups and downs in the past year, this recognizing of yourself will help you overcome and conquer. What is more important, you are very fortunate to have had such a wonderful support system around you to get through the tough times, so have FAITH, you would be fine! You can surely do it on your own. Don't forget we are with you too. As cancer survivors, we are bonded. So you would be fine!

    Each time you feel depressed, think about your lovely little daughter, then you will have the strength to brave everything. Live your life as if you won’t ever get cancer again. You know that you can’t do this overnight, but you are working hard on it. We all do. Hopefully, we will be better, stronger version of ourselves.

    Best of luck and sending you my warmest thoughts!

    Hugs and Prayers

    1. Survivor, You always take the time to write such thoughtful and reflective responses. It gives me comfort knowing you and many of us go through this routine fear every check up. I do hope it gets easier and I can mark off each one as a victory. I think of you every time I drink that tea! Thanks for being such a big contributor to this blog. Hugs to you and you can count me in on your support team. xxx