I can’t believe I will be hitting the three month mark of getting my diagnosis this week. Time is flying by, I guess this is a good thing. I am still living week by week and my good weeks really feel “normal” other than not working as much as I used to. The side effects of chemo are starting to linger more but that is expected, it has cumulative effects. I can only focus on the fact that I am half way through and have fared pretty well so far. The unknown and uncertainty of what will be coming after this is still unsettling but I need to refrain myself from thinking about this, I need to stay in the moment as much as I can for my own sanity. Then again being in the present can be hard at times, I don’t want to be where I am, I never asked for this, and still am struggling with how unfair this is. Every time I pass someone smoking, I think to myself that they should be the one having chemo, having their lives turned upside down, and the fear that they may not be here long enough to see their kids grow up, become adults, and enjoying their grandkids. This is where my mind takes me if I let it, it is constant and hard work to refocus on the positive aspects of my life right now and there are still many for which I am very grateful for…
Things have been really busy in the past few weeks. My beloved parents left two weeks ago. We all agreed that it felt like they had only been here for 2 weeks, time really flew by when they were here. I really cannot express enough my gratitude for everything they have done for us. Their love, devotion, generosity, patience are just incredible. I was really sad to see them go and their leaving felt a little unnerving. We had a good little routine going on and am realizing now all the little things my mom did for me without really me knowing. I know they will be back and they are probably happy to get a much deserved break from our little circus here! My sister and brother-in-law have come and gone. It was so nice to spend time with them and the kids had a blast with them too. My sister gave me strength and confidence in many ways but especially with getting my hair shaved. I have been going everywhere with her so walking around with both of our heads shaved attracted attention and we laughed about the fact that people probably thought we were “a couple” lol! I am just realizing that it will be more intimidating to go out by myself. I don’t want to attract attention, I have never liked to be the center of attention. I have already had numerous people (even strangers) stop me and tell me about their cancer journey (or the journey of someone they know), I am sorry but I don’t want to hear these stories now and don’t want people to stop me because they can see that I have cancer. If my hair wasn’t shaved they would just smile and keep walking. I am trying to be as gracious as I can be, just smile, cut the conversation short, and move on.
I have been thinking a lot about the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Kubler-Ross came up with this model to explain what terminally ill patients go through, as well as those who lose someone or the ones who are faced with awful fates. In my experience, no one goes through one stage at at a time but rather go through a few at a time and go back and forth until they get to the final stage of “acceptance” which can take a long time.
The first stage is denial which I definitely can relate to, I had it initially and still have it at times. “This can’t be happening to me”, I still have moments where this all feels surreal but as I wake up every morning, I know it is not just a bad dream but now reality. The second stage is anger “why me, it’s not fair”. I do have these thoughts but as discussed in a previous post, it is not in my nature to get angry, I will get sad before I get angry. Yes I do envy those whose life is not affected by cancer but I am not angry, just sad that I am where I am. The third stage is bargaining which I can say I never really understood when it came to grieving someone who had passed but in my case yes I am willing to bargain, I will do anything to buy more time, I will change whatever I need to change in my lifestyle to live the longest I can live. Then comes depression, I have been feeling sad at times but don’t feel depressed and as I just described earlier my thoughts are my worst enemies and if I focus on all that I have, I can wipe my tears off and keep moving on. The last stage is “acceptance” and this is my biggest challenge these days. I feel like I have a foot in every other stage and now need to accept this new reality and make the best of it. I guess I just need time..
Keep on paddling paddleboardgirl….
“Don’t worry you will find the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don’t forgo know that you’re loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time”