The God’s Honest Truth, What They Don’t Tell You
There are so many things they don’t tell you about treatment and the aftermath. During treatment it’s all about the fight and getting through each day. There were good days, there were days I didn’t leave my bed for a five day stretch. There’s talk of chemo-brain, but the medical professionals don’t really get into details. Details like the loss of cognitive abilities, the murky fog that takes over your thought process and the words it steals from the tip of your tongue.
There was a time toward the end of my second course of treatment that I had not showered for two weeks. I could no longer stand to be near myself, but the thought of getting up to shower felt as impossible as climbing Mount Everest. My husband bathed, dried and dressed me as I stood there with tears streaming down my face. Tears of frustration and humiliation and just plain sick of being fucking sick.
Treatment ended and the wait for surgery began. In the six weeks between I was afraid to leave my house. Running errands filled me with anxiety and fear. Irrational fear, but fear nonetheless. My home and more specifically, my bed, were safe places. The thought of my impending double mastectomy filled me with feelings of impending doom. I was scared and rightfully so, as it was the most painful thing I’ve ever endured and it has left me with these scars that will forever remind me of the cancer that was once in my body and will forever fill me with the fear of recurrence. I have to look at these scars every day.
I’ve been cancer-free for 71 days and yet cancer, or rather the aftermath, still rules my life.
They don’t tell you about the depression that is so very common after cancer treatment. I feel as though it’s a PTSD of sorts. I have a hard time leaving my bed to come to work. My work, my business was once like a child to me, near and dear to my heart – now I neglect unless there is there is something that absolutely must be done or I have a client on the books. Once there, I’m fine, but getting there, mentally, there’s a roadblock. My bed is warm and cozy and safe, it’s where I can sleep the fear away.
Finding a New Normal
I don’t kid myself into believing that my life will ever return to its former glory, that ‘normal’ is gone. I mourn the loss deeply. Moving forward I am taking baby steps to heal my body and my mind and come to peace with what’s left. Counting my many blessings.