I have thought a lot about this post, and I keep going back and forth on how it should be written. First, I decided to go back to the first post and read everything I have written to date. It was hard. It felt really raw and tender. I wanted to stop, but I kept going. The truth is I remember every detail down to the exact days. It replays in my head over and over like a broken record. Will I ever be able to shake the day I got the call, the feeling of walking into the OR for the first time in my life, the silence when the oncologist said I would need chemo? So much vulnerability. I will never forget it, it is part of my story.
So, while chemo and radiation are over, cancer will never be over for me. It will always be under the surface waiting to come out and announce itself as part of my story. I will be reminded of it with every visit to every new doctor as I fill out the health forms before I am seen. I know I won’t have to explain the fear of it coming back (it weighs me down). Today, when I look in the mirror cancer stares back at me. My physical appearance…hair, scars, skin, weight gain. The compression sleeve on my arm and hand gives me a gentle squeeze all waking hours reminding me. My hips and knees remind me of chemo every time I walk too long, use the stairs, or have been still for too long. The Tamoxifen pill I have to take every morning for the next five years. The doctor says the joint stiffness and pain will go away, and of course my hair will grow back, but I have never been the most patient person. It is like my little shadow, and I constantly feel the pressure of my tears welling up waiting to be released on the daily. I do a pretty good job of pushing through each day. Some are easier than others.
Today has been a weird day. I went to the dentist. You are probably thinking, what’s the issue, Rachel, no big deal. New dentist, new paperwork. I think I was asked 400 times when I finished my treatment…Monday…stated at least 400 times. I was about to yell, read the paperwork. What was that drug you are on again? Tamoxifen…look at the paper work! Because if I have to tell you aloud one more time I may lose it. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice and thorough, but its that reminder that I am really trying to walk away from. Even at the dentist, I was reminded of the damage chemo left behind. My gums were pretty damaged in a few places. They said it wasn’t chemo, but doctors are quick to tell you its not the chemo. (Funny, my insomnia stopped two weeks after chemo…but it wasn’t the chemo keeping me up at night) My last dental check-up was January 2018, and all was healthy and fine. WHATEVER. So, I will just floss more, got it…Can I leave now?
My point is this, it really isn’t over because it is a part of me, my story. I just have to navigate through these muddy waters to find my new normal. I will get there. It’s a marathon. Since, I vowed to never run one, no telling when I will reach the end. I start work Wednesday. There are anxieties associated with that as well. I remember working through all the medical drama that lead up to the diagnosis. I remember working and crying while I typed and went through the motions each day. It was distracting me to an extent. So, I am about to go back to that place. (I know I will be fine, but it is still in my head) I have been in a protective cancer bubble for seven months. A place where people look like me, talk the lingo like me, talk about the new ache of the day like me. Now it is back to real life. Not sure where I fit anymore. That marathon has many turns to the finish line. I am a wogger (walk/jogger), so I am wogging along. This is making me laugh because it is actually a pretty accurate picture. (HOT MESS)
There is a song that will bring to my knees every time I hear it. I belt it out and cry my way through it. It is like my and God’s own personal conversation. It is titled “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. Here are some of the verses:
“I’m so confused, I know I heard you loud and clear. So I’ll follow through, somehow I ended up here. I don’t want to think, I may never understand that my broken heart is a part of your plan. When I try to pray, all I got is hurt and these four words…Thy will be done.”
“I know you’re good, but this don’t feel good right now. And I know you think of things I could never think about. It’s hard to count it all joy, distracted by the noise. Just trying to make sense of all your promises. Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that you’re God and I am not. So, thy will be done.”
I wanted to be really open and honest with this post as I know I have some readers that are on this cancer journey with me. I am so blessed that I am cancer free and have a great future ahead of me. I wouldn’t be honest If I didn’t share these above feelings. I read some blogs and follow some people that have breast cancer, and I am like do you ever cry? I know they do, just be real with me, tell me I am not alone in my thoughts and feelings. My hope is this blog gives you a full picture of my journey, the good, the funny, and the ugly. Maybe it will help you talk to a friend who may face this in the future. I don’t know, but one thing I know is that I am searching for me…pieces of the old me and pieces of the new me. I will find her…I have faith and hope.
P.S. I promise a lighter post next time, this just needed to be done.
All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring.