As much as I’d like to always just make you guys (and myself) laugh, I’ve got to be honest. Over the last week, I’ve had mounting anxieties, and last night the fear in my heart erupted. All over Josh. In the form of my tears and snot.
You see, lately, I’ve been on the up and up, and, for the most part, I’ve been happy. Happier than I’ve ever been, actually. Mostly because I appreciate my life so much more now. And I really know who I am. Also, probably in part due to a hefty dose of denial.
But then three things happened, and I came crashing down.
- Sam died.
- I had a dream about an old classmate who passed a few years ago.
- I started reading stories of women who are metastatic — like on purpose.
Let’s just start from the bottom up.
When I was first diagnosed, I wanted NO information. I am aware of how stupid this sounds and really is, but I just couldn’t handle it. All throughout treatment, I did the opposite of what most women do. I avoided doing my research. Oh, at times, I tried because I’ve always been a studious girl. I read much of Dr. Susan Love’s breast cancer bible, but it only served to scare the living crap out of me. The last straw for that book was when it “taught” me that women who found their cancer while breastfeeding had poorer outcomes (or you know, died more often). Nope. Just, no thanks. I can’t do anything to change that so let’s just not even discuss it. Please and thanks. And back to the library you go, Dr. Love.
Part of the reason that I started this blog was because I couldn’t handle reading other people’s horrifying experiences with breast cancer. I think a lot of people draw strength from identifying with others, but for me, it was like watching Friday the 13th before my very own stay at Camp Crystal Lake.
It is only now that I am trying to peek into the breast cancer world a little more. I have been researching VERY slowly, and in doing this, I have stumbled across some blogs of women whose breast cancer came back and are now terminal. And I can’t stop reading them. They often take my breath away and always strike fear in my heart, but I regularly check on these women. I feel like I owe it to them. I feel like I can’t just shut them out because it scares me. What if that’s me someday? I’m not sure how much good it’s doing me now though.
Also, I had a dream about a former classmate (who I was friends with in middle school and early high school) who died a few years ago. In the dream, he really just said hi and said he had to get back to work on the yearbook. I was delighted to see him because I knew it had been a while. But when I woke up, I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe Chris was trying to tell me something. Give me a warning or welcome me over or something. I also know that this is ridiculous.
But here’s where it’s not ridiculous. On Monday night, I went to Sam‘s wake. Seeing that sweet little boy like that knocked the happy denial right out of me. You don’t get more real than that. And seeing the grief of his parents reminded me that cancer just doesn’t care. It really just doesn’t give an eff. Like Miley Cyrus. Or my daughter when it comes to wearing pants. (Again, here’s the link to donate to Sam’s family.)
So for the past few days, all my pains = recurrence. Because, obviously, pain + wild anxiety = my children growing up without a mother. Gah. Does anyone have a chill pill? Not Ativan. I’m already taking that. Like, a legit chill pill?
My mind is wild, frantic. I’ve taken two steps forward, one step back. And I wonder if that’s how the rest of my life will be. Will I have to beat back this fear forevermore? Will I always have moments of wide-eyed panic and silent alarm? Will I have to learn to manage my ice cold gut every time I have a random ache? Because, let me tell you, it’s a deep, dark rabbit hole, you guys.
I guess, as long as I’m taking two steps forward, one step back, I’ll eventually make it to a less fearful place. And truly, in whatever state of mind I’m currently in, I am just so happy to be here. To be alive and with my family.
But seriously, any advice from you “survivors” out there? Or anyone else? Bueller?