My birthday was two days ago, and I told my husband that all I wanted this year was to disappear.  Like, I really just wanted to go off the grid for a bit.  So he took the kids and gave me the afternoon (and the shirt I kept pointing out because he’s not an IDIOT.), and I found myself here, trying to reconnect with myself.

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Life after cancer seems so loud.  So busy.  And very confusing.

And I feel like people think I should have my shit back together by now.

I don’t.

A few months ago, I was connected with someone that I went to high school with who was just diagnosed.  I reached out, letting her know that I’m here for her.  That I know.  Through her emails, I’ve had to relive those early days — the bewildering, all-encompassing fear and confusion.  Her panic, her despair are palpable through the screen (but maaaaaaybe I am also projecting a tad?), and I am often reduced to tears for her (for myself?), and to be honest, I haven’t been a very good friend / support to her.

But I find myself in this weird space where I have one foot out of the breast cancer world and one foot still in.  And I lose my balance easily.

Like with the entire last month.  Oh, October.  Pinktober wasn’t good for my heart (re: anxiety level), the big pink party that it was.  October also wasn’t a great month for some of my online friends / fellow bloggers healthwise.  Their breast cancers didn’t care that they were supposed to be PRETTY and CURABLE in October.  They just did their thing.  Which is continue to ruin and take lives.

It’s not good for me.  It’s not good for me to be constantly looking breast cancer and the damage it does right in the face.  I’m still too off-balance.  I fall too easily.

But someday — and I feel guilty that it’s not TODAY — I would love to advocate for metastatic breast cancer.  Because their voices die out.  And it could be me…or my daughter…someday.

On a lighter note, I was also thinking about how tired I am of seeing my pink wig hang in the back of my closet.  I pretty much never want to see it again.  You understand.  But it’s a perfectly fine pink wig, and it got my bald head through some tough (and cold) times…so for my birthday, I want to give it away to someone who needs it right now!  Soooo who wants it?  Anyone?

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In other hair news, I think I outgrew my grandpa in the last year.

October 2014 & October 2015
October 2014 & October 2015

Anyway, I got off track.  I’m not sure this post has a track though.

When I got home from my three hour long respite, a “cake party” and homemade cards awaited me.  So even in all my cancer-induced, teenage-like angst life IS pretty perfect.  And the universe or God or whatever made sure to drive that point home because that evening, Josh and I attended the wake of a 36 year-old coworker of his.  On my birthday.  Yeah, LIFE is good, and I couldn’t be more thankful for 34.

13 comments on “34.”

  1. I wish I could say that you eventually just put that breast cancer world behind you, but I’m not sure you do or can or want to. I’m just not sure. I have mets….there is no putting it behind me, but you know, I do have to live in this world and this world is not centered around me. Shock. Shock. So, I do have days when I look in a mirror and say “they must have made a mistake”. Then reality sinks in and well, you deal. I went for many long drives on the river road sorting things out. Truthfully, no matter how many people you have around you and who you know are there for you, it’s a lonely disease. I know I’ve hurt feelings by saying that, but it’s true. It’s lonely because we can’t possibly verbalize all we’re feeling on any given day and expect anyone to hold up under all that. Who could take it? Really. It’s a lot to digest for those going through it and if you’re talking to someone who hasn’t gone through it, it’s like describing color to a blind person.
    I use to be very active on a couple of blogs, but it overwhelmed me. Working at a hospital and seeing people get diagnosed with breast cancer (or cancer of any kind), reading about people with breast cancer, emailing, texting and dealing with my own could send me cowering in a corner. I truly believe I felt more for them than I did for myself. I knew I couldn’t fix me, but I wanted so much to fix them.
    I learned to balance it out. The loss is real and the Pinktober stuff is a slap in the face….I take it on as much as I can, but even with that, I’ve learned balance. I mean it’s kind of difficult to kill off pinktober and hide the body.
    I appreciate your very candid discussions. I understand what you’re saying beyond the words. Sometimes when I read what you’ve written I nod in agreement. We just know that “feeling”. I’ve talked to women who have moved past their five years and they say they rarely think about it except when it’s time for a yearly checkup. I think I could handle that. I wish that for you.
    Thanks, again.

  2. Happy Birthday, Heather!! I wish you many, many more years of health and peace.

    As usual, I can relate to a lot of what you say. I’ve been stuck in between two worlds since my diagnosis and it sucks. I can’t quite find my true identity, and to be honest, I am scared to have one because I fear falling off the cliff again, if that makes any sense. It is a weird feeling indeed. And of course, people always expect us to be back “to normal.” Not easy.

    I am sorry you had to attend a wake of a young lady.

    About metastatic breast cancer, I hate how little progress has been made. It hurts when I see women I’ve connected with go through it. I also have a dear friend, my age, going through brain mets right now. I cry often because of it. She held my hand during my cancer mess and now I am unable to get her out of her own mess. The guilt is there.

    I agree we should all advocate for stage 4 because it could hit any of us one day. Are you familiar with http://metup.org? Beth Caldwell is a fellow blogger you probably know of, see her page and learn about the legislation that’s been worked on right now to increase funding for research. Maybe you can share with your followers. Here it is: http://cultofperfectmotherhood.com/action-alert-all-caps-freak-out/.

    Peaceful looking pictures. Please stay well. xx

  3. I want you to know that you HAVE helped me. At first it was through our emails, because knowing you personally …..even slightly..,,made me feel connected to you. But as we spoke and I learned more about where you are and where I was just beginning, I found comfort in your blog. I try to find a way to laugh …..find humor in SOMETHING…..and most nights, it was your blog that did that for me. You have no idea how much you have inspired me through these past two months. One day, we will look back at this, hopefully as great friends who just happen to share a story…..just know you have never let me down …..xoxo. B

  4. October is just hard. As is seeing friends’ disease progression. I’m glad you took some time to get your bearings. Whenever you’re ready, the mets community would love to have you…but ONLY as an advocate. Lots of love and birthday wishes coming your way. XO

  5. First of all, happy birthday! I totally get wanting to get off the grid a bit. I’m contemplating a blog post on this very subject (to be continued). Sometimes we just want to get away and be by ourselves. Why shouldn’t we want that?
    I totally get hiding that wig. I barely wore mine but I can’t get rid of it for some reason and it’s living at the bottom of my husband’s drawer. But I like your pink one. I think it’s a lot of fun.

  6. Your posts continue to resonate for me. I, too, had a birthday this month, and spent most of the month thinking about “one year ago today” (one year ago today I found a lump… was diagnosed… was writhing in chemo agony). I, too, have one foot in and one foot out the door of breast cancer and am struggling to find my balance, struggling to figure out “now what?” and “who am I now?” and “who do I want to be now?” I, too, am deeply grateful for my pretty perfect life, but also aware of how scared I feel at times, how anxious and uncertain and somewhat lost in sometimes wonderful and sometimes terrifying ways.

  7. Your blog shines a light for me, even though we face different battles, we face some of the same emotions and struggles associated with a life-changing diagnosis. How you feel about October is how I feel about blood clot awareness month in March, but I was not able to put words to it until just now when I read this post – I am too off balance. Thank you for that.

    Sara

  8. Hey, Heather. I miss hearing from you. I hope things are okay with you. I am also struggling with getting my shit together now that my treatment is over. Sure would love to hear your perspective. God bless you and take care. 🙂

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