I’ve been neck deep in some stuff lately – just life stuff – and wondering why I haven’t felt like I could shake it off and deal to it like I usually do.
A couple of months back I announced that I was taking a break from blogging for a while so I could concentrate on my e-book and a new business venture. Made sense at the time - because time was the issue. Sorry, no superwomen lives here - can’t do everything all at once aye!! What I didn’t realise is by doing that, I would be removing a core coping mechanism. Some people drink, party, talk, binge (whatever)…. I write. Problem is, I don’t have time to write. Even as I sat down to write this blog I had a mini panic attack because there are simply too many other things I “should” be doing. Ladies you all know what I’m talking about right!? But a good friend of mine today reminded me of how important it was for ME to do this. You see I’ve always written with a heart focused on others. But I realised today that every now and then its ok to focus on myself and what I need. Today I need to blaaaaah (insert ugly snapshat rainbow filter).
So much has happened in the past few months and I guess I’ll elaborate a little more down the blogging track, but today was a real doozy.
Today I laid my head on the car steering wheel and let a few tears escape. Not too many mind you, just incase my new eyelash extensions fell out and all that hoha was for nothing. Yes vain I know. But when you lose every hair on your body and some of that hair takes its sweet time coming back, well you do what you have to do!
Incidentally this all happened before 10am...an excellent start to the day – NOT!
Prior to this I had been to see my oncologist to talk about what wasn’t going right and what we could do to fix it. It was then that it hit me again…this stupid dumb cancer ‘thing’ wasn’t going to bugger off anytime soon. In many respects it was here to stay. To be clear, I’m not saying the cancer has come back - not that we know of anyway. But you see, there lies part of the problem; like my oncologist said to me today “most people don’t realise that the hard part of the journey starts after treatment”. Amen to that brother. Most people (those who don’t have cancer) think it’s over when things quieten down. No, we just get quieter and get on with trying to rebuild our lives. As for the hard part - at least when you’re going through treatment you can see an end date marked in your calendar, and for many, including myself it acts as a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Many who have gone before me have said that the treatment is worse than the cancer itself, and I’d have to agree somewhat. It’s not the pain and suffering that they are talking about. It’s the impact and long term effect it has on your body afterwards. It’s the hit and misses, the constant checking, the deep fear nagging at you every time you get a body ache. It’s the vertical climb to get your body back to 100% and it’s the knowing that this probably won’t ever happen, especially if you have to take drugs for a good chunk of your life.
Speaking of drugs, I’ve been on some pretty hardcore painkillers for almost a year now. For some reason my arm and chest area just won’t settle down and be pain-free. If I hadn’t already tested myself several times by going cold turkey, even “I” would be looking at me sideways. Pain med addiction is no joke, just look at Rachel McKenna off Shortland Street, and she wasn’t even doing half of what I’m doing! Add to this the estrogen blocking drugs I am currently on to stop the cancer from returning. These bad boys can really turn your world upside down and the worst part about them is you’re stuck with them for 5-10 years.
For the last few months I have been quietly thankful that the side effects of these cancer fighting drugs have been minimal and the worst of it has been joint/bone pain every now and then which can prevent me from walking properly. These pills are supposed to force your body into menopause so it doesn’t produce as much estrogen. That’s the theory anyway. Problem was, my body didn’t appear to get the memo!! Yep, my body always was a stubborn little fighter, and as heroic as that sounds – it’s not actually an ideal scenario. My gratefulness started to be replaced with suspicion as I was still very much ‘pre-menopausal’ if you know what I mean. Menopause really wasn’t that bad I caught myself thinking several times!! HA!
I started to wonder….if I’m not showing any signs of slowing down in this department, then what does that mean for my estrogen levels? And what does that mean for this stupid dumb cancer? All very big questions, and the answers I got today were not what I wanted to hear. I’m not going to go into gory detail but let’s just say the road just got steeper, and I have spent the better part of this day trying to kick self-pity to the curb. Hey - just being real!
On a very sober note, my friend asked me today if I had lost my anchor. My immediate answer was NO. Of course not! The idea in theory shocked me, but it was a good wake up call and I needed to be reminded of some deeper truths. Yes, it was still there but admittedly a little off to the side behind the stage curtain. Today the stage was set for my emotions. And I’m not going to apologise for that either, because as I was lovingly assured today, every now and then we’re allowed to have a bad day. We’re allowed to be weak and ultimately human…even (and especially) if we have faith. You know, I've come to realise that some people don’t actually connect with me and my blogs because they think I have it all together and am therefore unrealistic and unrelateble. Oh puh-leze!! Who do we truly know that has it all together? No one!! Especially not me. I just think and do life according to the grace and mercy God gives me each day. And then I share about it because I don’t believe the answers are just for me alone. It doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days or have no answers....
Today I am just a worn out woman who’s looking at the next vertical cliff face wondering how’s she going to climb the sucker. But (and at the risk of sounding like I have the answer), I know deep in my heart that it will be done.