Sunday, January 12, 2014
I wish I had a Crystal Ball
“After you find out all the things that can go wrong, your life becomes less about living and more about waiting.” Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
It is the second Sunday in a row that I have spent feeling awful and in bed most of the time. I felt alot like I did during chemo - the ache through my entire body, every tiny little movement and action feeling like such hard work, having no energy at all (i.e: having to sit down in the shower) and just feeling like absolute crap. Both days - I have slept hours throughout the day and had the most awful dreams. Mind and body are clearly out of sync. The thing is that I am not ill nor am I recovering from some huge night out (god I wish) - I am simply reacting to doing too much the day and week before. Honestly I find it so unbelievably depressing how cruel and punishing my body can be to me. It´s like when the pot starts boiling and the bubbles get closer and closer to the edge, you run to catch it to turn the temp down but instead everything erupts down the sides and everywhere. That is an accurate image of the way my body reacts when I do too much. The week was insane - first week of working 3 days a week, 2 huge birthday parties to host and the whole scan looming in the background. I know I pushed myself and I had this cold that was teetering on the edge of becoming full blown flu. It was just too much for me but of course I didn´t listen to my limits or to my body and I just pushed and pushed and pushed. Then BAM! Sunday it all comes crashing down and my body forces me to actually take the rest it needs via bed hostage tactics. I never experienced anything like this after the first cancer round so I can see how much more all of this has affected me. Every day is a new learning lesson for me and my newfound limitations. But god does it make me so crazy angry - that my 34 year old body (yes I had a birthday this week) can´t make it through a busy day with no rest without completely collapsing the next day and refusing to work. It isn´t normal but then again what the hell is normal about this life I have been living for nearly three years now.
I can´t believe cancer has been my dark passenger for so long. You almost start forgetting what life can be like without it. This time, three years ago, I was in pain, I knew something wasn´t right but I didn´t know how wrong it was. And now I feel like I am staring down a road with two paths and not knowing which one I will take. I want things to be okay because I just don´t know if I could go through more of this. I don´t know if my body could take more and I never thought I could or would feel like that. But do you want to hear a confession? I am also scared of things being alright too. Thinking of the results coming back clear makes me feel weird and unsettled. Cancer has been such a huge (albeit totally shitty) part of my life for a long time. In some screwed up way, it becomes a part of you and your identity. I am the girl who got breast cancer twice before she turned 35. By losing the cancer piece, you need to move on from the whole experience as you tick off each clear scan and it can be unsettling moving away from the safety net you can get from cancer. I don´t know if I am making total sense here (cancer - a safet net? Say what girl?) but maybe those of you who have had cancer before will get it. I of course never ever wanted to have cancer, but once you have it, the thought of having to just get on with everything again can be quite terrifying. Who am I if I am not the girl with cancer? Like this blog - would my normal life really be interesting enough for you all to read? So I feel all messed up about it all. I remember in October 2012, when my husband and I were waiting for the results of my biopsy following a positive pet result. We were so prepared for the cancer to be back and had made plans and strategies - so when we got news that the biopsy was negative (the biopsy was in fact wrong as they had missed the tumour by mm but hey thats just details), we felt deflated, depressed and so utterly lost. I guess that is kinda how I feel right now - lost. There is so much riding on this scan and now that it is nearly a day away, I still feel so unprepared. My doctor is being so positive though, which he never used to be, so I am trying to join him on that train of thought. When I am trying to fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night, all I think about is that day we come in for the results. Any cancer patient or survivor can tell you how terrible that feeling is - the nausea, your heart beating a mile a minute, the analysis of everything around you. I think of how I will feel that day and what his face will look like when he walks. Will he smile in that happy everything is okay way or in the "you are going to die" pathetic way? How will he say hello? Will there be smalltalk? Dr Sunshine tells me that I am always trying to find answers to questions and things that are impossible to know. Like I expect some crystal ball to be sitting in the oncology ward holding all the answers to everything. But like Tuesday when I lie there as the machine scans every inch of my body and like that day I go to hear my judgement, I will have no idea what is or will happen until it actually does. Acknowledging this lack of control clearly doesnt make it any easier but who said any of this was easy.
I had a dream last night that I was being chased by something I couldn´t quite make out. My chest was pounding, my legs were tired and fear rippled through my body. I just kept running because even though I couldn´t see it, I knew it was bad. I kept trying to will myself to wake up to end the dream because I was so scared. You ever have those kind of dreams? But I couldn´t stop the dream and it kept going and going. Kinda sounds like the last year of my life. However the important part was that as awful as the dream was, I did wake up and it did end. And I was okay. So regardless of what happens on Tuesday, I will tell myself what my husband wrote in my birthday card this year:
"Everything will be okay in the end. If it´s not okay, it´s not the end."
A slightly older and wiser OBB
PS: Thank you for all the emails, calls, packages, cards and messages from all of you from around the world. Birthdays are ever so special to me and so many of you joined in to celebrate it with me. I am grateful for all the love I have in my life. This year will be my best yet!