Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Coast is clear so why do I feel like I am drowning?



"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. " Anatole France


First of all, I want to thank everyone for the calls, texts, emails, messages and positive thoughts from around the world. It really is amazing to see your circle of “people” in action and how many people you can call friends. I am lucky.

So yesterday good news came a week early and was so unexpected and of course positively wonderful. This is why I am struggling with my later reactions once the shock of it all and the relief had worn off. Many of you might be puzzled by what I am writing here so bear with me – this cancer business is complex.
A few hours later, I started to feel exhausted and this heaviness was pressing down on my chest that I couldn’t explain at first. Then the tears started to flow over dinner and my appetite just wasn’t there. Where was the champagne? Where were the happy giggles and smiles of relief? To be honest I felt depressed and lost and I felt like there was something dreadfully wrong with me for feeling so. I can try and explain it to you and maybe it will become clearer even to me. I compare it to an old man who is finally let out of prison after serving a life sentence. All the life he has known happened in that place and suddenly he is thrust out onto the pavement to face the world again without knowing where to go or what to do. I kind of feel like that old man right now. We had prepared ourselves for the cancer to be back. We had made plans and come to terms with that reality. The evidence was all there weighing heavily in cancer’s favor and I would have had to have some real casino luck to dodge this bullet. But somehow I did much to the surprise of my doctor who even said he had not expected this result. This is something amazing and so great. But in having earlier accepted that my cancer was back and doing enough background research to understand the serious implications of it, I had asked myself the tough questions that would terrify most to contemplate. I came up with plans and strategies to deal with the what ifs – I planned a book that I would prepare for my daughter to remember me by and the letters I would leave behind for my husband to read on special days every year. I imagined losing my hair again and having life put on hold again. I even came up with a blog title for the delivery of the news that the bitch was back. You can say I spent a lot of the last few weeks contemplating all of this. Yes this sounds morbid and even crazy but it wasn’t. The survival curve for a relapse like this dropped off significantly to almost 0%. I wasn’t being dramatic, I was being realistic. I always tell my doctors that I never want to be na├»ve about my situation and be unprepared for news like I had been the day I first found out. But suddenly the game had shifted and it is an entirely different playing board. So I also need to shift and adapt to the changes as well.  I also maybe need to grieve the past 2 years of my life that were dominated by cancer before starting to build a new one which can be scary too.  Acknowledgement of your feelings is the best way to get past them so I cant just pretend I am not feeling the way I am. I have to own them and then let them go. My life is no longer dominated by this beast and that might feel weird for awhile but it will be great once I get used to the new me.

As I will be rejoining the working world shortly, following this change of events,  I am questioning everything. Will I be successful? Do I still have what it takes? Will my body keep up? It really comes down to fear of the unknown – a different kind of unknown this time round. After being traumatized by life recently and thinking that things hadn’t gone my way for a while, you can be lead to believe that the odds will never be in your favor again. But what my family and I have learnt this week is that they can be beat and that life can be one hell of a rollercoaster. My story is far from over and there will be more tests, more dreadful waiting times and more unknowns over the next few months and then years but I will start slowly rebuilding my life brick by brick with a few good cries here and there.

I want to thank you for coming along on this wild ride with me. My life is so much richer for the friendships that have been tested, the new ones that have been formed and the family bonds that proved they were built of pure steel. I also want to thank my dear husband for being a rock through everything – I couldn’t have come out the other side of this a better person without you by my side. And Captain AC – thank you for listening…to everything and for being strong enough to never let me see that you were ever afraid. Having people believe in you is what makes you believe in yourself even when things seem bleak.  And little monkey – you have grown into a little person before my eyes – into someone who feels my pain, treasures my love and tells me, “Mama, it will be okay.”

Here is to the end of one chapter and the beginning of another...

A very loved OBB

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