I thought I would start off with getting my medical update out of the way. I received my endometrial biopsy results back and the doctor said results were “normal”. Ahh, yes- I can breathe…. I was trying really hard not to think about it and I knew in my heart my luck could not be that bad. (I do say that with a bit of caution). My doctors will continue to make me do follow-up ultra sounds but “normal” was music to my ears this week.
So, life carries on as “normal” or at least my new version of normal. This is a complicated word for me and there is no simple definition for someone young who has had cancer or lives with a chronic disease. I am still trying to figure out what is my “normal” supposed to really feel like. I always hear others in similar situations use the phrase, “new normal”- but I struggle with that. Things are not the way they used to be before treatment that is for sure. Do I want that old me back? You bet I do- without the cancer of course.
Mind and Body.
Is my body normal? Not even close. I have a scar under my left armpit and an indent from where they took a chunk of lymph nodes out. 18 to be exact and while the scar appears to be getting better the indent it left behind is so big that I can not shave properly. Trivial, yes- but certainly not normal. I still have cording under my left arm that some days forces pain down my arm to my wrist. If it is really bad, it shoots across my chest taking my breath away in pain. It is better than it was, but the pain is still there. I am hoping after my exchange surgery, it helps relieve some of the extra stress there. I have X ‘s where my nipples used to be. I will always have fake boobs. While that may be fine for some women, I feel justified to say that it is much different than making the choice to have breast augmentation. It is not the same thing by a long shot. My body is fighting back every day to filter out the treatments and the after effects of the past year. It wants to feel strong again; I want to feel strong again. But sometimes the odds are against me and I have to give in and rest. I guess there are lots of people that can complain about aches and pains in their knees, ankles and arms but mine are all reminders of having had cancer. A little different than the aches of the aging process, because it reminds me that it was trying to kill me.
Is my mind normal? Not sure really. It is still a bit foggy from all the drugs and I think the Tamoxifen is not helping that part of the side-effect recovery either.
Worry- I have a lot of that and it hits me randomly throughout the day. Sometimes it scares me enough to wake me up in the middle of the night. I have to assume that most women my age are not worried about the same things as I am. I would love to wake up in the morning and go about my day without the fear of a recurrence ever crossing my mind- it does. Or question if I made the right treatment choices- this is a hard one for me. I get envious, or dare I say jealous, of what others appear to have that I want: Marriage, children, or the overall feeling of immortality that I use to have. I want to complain about the little things again.
“Didn’t this experience make you feel grateful?” I have had people ask me that among other loaded questions. I guess I would rather have people ask me questions than ignore the subject with me completely. I was pretty well in touch with my sense of gratitude before my diagnosis so the answer is NO, Cancer didn’t really make me more grateful, but I do look at things and people a lot differently.
My body is for sure not a normal 37 year old body. But yet, I am still better physically fit then some that have not been through major cancer treatment. My mind does not think like a normal 37 year old woman. My relationships are no longer the same. Some have strengthened and some have weakened almost to a failing point. I have really learned to know who I can count on and who is just outright unreliable. This path has introduced me to amazing new people that have offered me so much generous support in ways I never imagined- life changing support. I have seen and felt what true love is really like. So, yes...I have many things to be grateful for.
In April of 2010, my world got hijacked and it will never be “normal’. Most of this I have learned to accept but acceptance doesn’t mean I have to like it!
For those that know me best, I am not looking for pity, but rather understanding. I write this not to make it seem like I am bitter or angry, but to let people know that I am still here just trying to work this all out-it is my great human struggle to make sense of all of this. I may appear back to “normal’ in your eyes, but from this view, I will never really be “normal”.
Thank you for reading.
|Photo courtesy of ~Aria~ Flickr Photostream.|