Thursday, November 28, 2013

Requesting Normal

It has been nearly a month since my words graced these pages and I don´t quite know what has happened. Life of course got in the way again but I also just haven´t been able to write. Nothing came to me, no inspiration, no clever ideas or even dramatic events to recount. I have told you all many times before that i can never just start writing without some kind of idea or thought to work from - the entries never end up being published as they just never quite feel right. But today i am pushing through the wall to try and get something out there so you all know how things are going. I most definitely havent been sitting at home for the last four weeks twiddling my thumbs - quite the opposite really.

So against doctors advice, I went back to work a few weeks ago. I know it sounds crazy especially to people who have had cancer and understand the toll this disease and subsequent treatment takes on you. I do get irritated when people tell me that going back to work is a good thing and that why I shouldnt I do it - it can´t be that difficult. Rule one of cancer - Don´t talk about things you know nothing about! Trying to get back to a normal existense after cancer, once, is tough, but twice is hell and I have definitely underestimated my own self this time. It was important to me to start my life again hence wanting to work again and I knew my body and mind were far from ready but then I felt that I probably would never be ready so I needed to just leap. There is also this inate restlessness and frustration within me and an obsessive desire to get things going again. My life has been on stop start mode for years now and I feel like I can´t wait around anymore. None of this is what I planned for myself and there are so many things I wish were different but can´t change. I especially struggle with my career which was always incredibly important to me. It has been stagnant and on hold for four years now at a time when I should be at my prime. It is such a hard pill to swallow as I watch everyone sprint past me while I keep getting pushed further back. And what I realised after my first day back is that I may never be the same again. This latest round of treatment completely annihilated me and things I took for granted before are challenging. I get frustrated over minute things, I struggle with multitasking and completing tasks under time constraints, I have to lie down and sleep every afternoon religiously or I literally collapse from exhaustion in the evening and I worry about everything. I also feel like things are different for me at work - now everyone seems to know about me. I have lost my anonymity - my sense of being normal. The reactions differ dramatically from person to person - some tear up when they talk to me and hear about my struggles. They are often people who have young kids too, mothers, or people who have experienced cancer through a loved one. Then they are the others who avoid me in the lunchroom or the hallway - people I used to share a joke with and chat with in passing. It is hard to see them knowingly run the other way but I also know it is up to me how I allow people to see and define me. I know I scare them because of what I represent - someone who shouldn´t have had this happen to her.  If I want to be the cancer girl then so be it but if I want to someone else I also can - it is up to me. But sometimes it is so hard to play the normal card because it often involves pretending that everything is okay when it isn´t. And god do I feel so much self doubt and vulnerability. I question my ability to do a good job, to handle stress, to speak in another language, to be valued for the work I do and to not be seen as a burden to anyone especially my employer. Right now I feel like an albatross around their neck - I can´t give what I want to and it feels like such a long way back up this mountain that I am standing in front of. I wish every single day that i could wake up tomorrow and be normal again - no  morphine patch permanently fixed on my arm, no handfull of pills I swallow every evening, no flat chest covered in scars that make me feel like less of a woman, no feelings of such exhaustion that I cant take another step and no fear of the future and what other struggles lie ahead. I hate to sound like such a depressed Debbie here (I hate whingers!) but this is exactly how I feel. I hope things get easier - everyone forgets over time including myself and I hope, like my scars, all of these things will fade until they eventually disappear forever. As I always say - we can always hope.

Aside from my new venture back into the working world, I am still struggling with heart issues and visited the cardio doc last week. Several tests later, he proclaimed there would be no fast solutions to my problems and that this was most likely caused by my misshap with the Port incident of 2013. The heart is wired electronically in such an intricate way that any little scarring (in my case caused by a little wire that fell into the heart) will cause problems. None of it is life threatening but boy is it frickin´annoying and given the fact I have been seriously ill twice and my father and grandmother suddenly died from heart problems, I cannot just stay calm when my heart is acting wonky. It just feels like more bad luck on top of a whole mountain full of it! We will do more tests in a few weeks to determine the extent of it and act accordingly. As you can imagine - I have been struggling with anger issues as of late. And the clock is ticking on the PET which is now just a little over a month away. I feel like the last few months post treatment have been anything but restful with all the crap that has happened.

"Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here."

Perhaps somewhere preferably with a beach, 24 hour on call massage therapist and unlimited amounts of jelly beans. :)



1 comment:

  1. dear kate,

    I am sorry to be so late responding to this incredibly honest and beautifully written post. with so much upheaval on your plate I find it amazing that you had the grit and resolve to put it all into writing. Good for you! I hope with all my heart that it helped just to express the many things you are going through.

    transition - it's one of the hardest places to be, to go through, and especially with so many unknowns still ahead of you. going back to work sounds as though it's a double-edged sword - working again gets you back into a routine, but there's nothing routine about the chemo fog that makes it so difficult to concentrate, to exercise your work skills you know are compromised. so Frustrating!!! transition - the very word sounds so Zen-like, but for most of us it's a clusterfuck that affects every aspect of our lives. I know that what you have written will resonate with so many others, and I hope that gives you some satisfaction - to know you are not alone, and to let other people who have and are suffering feeling overwhelmed to the max know they are not alone.

    I hope that day by day, little by little, your beautiful mind, heart and soul will feel some modicum of relief from the stress and anxiety. please know I am holding you close to my heart, and I have asked Hugh to watch over you, too. he knew all about your story, and was always so concerned and felt so much compassion for you and your husband.

    much love and light to help you find your way,

    your fearless friend,

    Karen xoxoxoxox