I stopped going to my support group seven months ago. I stopped going because I thought everyone else there was doing better than me. And I was embarrassed.
Last night, over tacos and tea, I told them this. I shared that I’ve been struggling with depression and not a single person didn’t nod along. We talked for two hours about the emotional aftermath of breast cancer. We bonded over the intense anxiety, the pressure to “not let it come back,” the frustration that comes with not being able to “live life to the fullest” everyday, or even most days. We commiserated over changed bodies, changed sex lives, and how to answer the once (but nevermore) innocent question of “How are you (*head tilt in full force*)?” We agreed that the getting well after being sick is harder than the being sick.
And I wasn’t embarrassed anymore. I was home.
This blog used to be my home, but I think I left it for the same reason as I did the support group. I was embarrassed. I was proud of how I had handled my cancer experience and not so proud of how I’ve fallen apart since.
You see, I have intense mood swings, and I don’t know if it is caused by Tamoxifen (a medicine that blocks estrogen) or my own innate craziness. Chemobrain continues to haunt me, and I’ve been sleeping too much. I have little patience with my family especially after 5pm. I have gained twenty pounds, but I still have no breasts. I’m generally a mess.
Buuuuut. I mean, I’m also happy. I like my job and I am so in love with my kids. Like, if I could actually eat them up, I would. Well, you know, when they’re not fighting each other or wiping boogers on my couch or calling my stomach “so squishy!” or locking the cat in the closet. Seriously, you guys, the other day I found, like, 1.2 seconds to cozy up on the couch with my favorite blanket and a book, and Penny walked up and said, “Mom, you know I’ve wiped like a thousand boogers on that blanket, right?”
Umm, no. No, I didn’t.
But I love that little booger picker.
As unwell as I still am, I am also well. Kind of. And I’m no longer embarrassed to say it because I know I’m not alone in this and, you guys, this is hard — all of this post cancer bullshit. And life. Life is hard. Especially when you have to start a load of laundry asap and take an unplanned mid-afternoon bath lest your linens and you remain covered in a thousand boogers…you know, but it’s also dinnertime and your three-year-old just ran outside naked.