Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I've been in hiding

Well, not really. But I've definitely taken a HUGE step back from anything and everything breast-cancer related for the past month or so. Brian was able to come home for a few weeks, and it was absolutely AMAZING to spend time with him and not have to worry about a single medical appointment. We took a trip to the East Coast and really enjoyed ourselves. I hadn't been there in a few years, so it was really nice to see his side of the family; and to walk around the Naval Academy yard and reminisce about our wedding there.

Besides that, I just needed a break. I've pretty much completely immersed myself over the past year in all things breast cancer...research, information, medical trials, support groups...not to mention 49 weeks of active treatment. After I finished treatment, I really just needed to try to regain some semblance of normalcy in my life. I'm pretty sure reality laughed in my face at my assumption that I could return to status quo.

Everything is different. Yes, I live my life and try not to dwell on the fact that I just spent over 11 months actively fighting a potentially deadly disease. I try not to be frustrated that, when last year I could easily knock out 55 pushups, right now I am up to 2.5 pounds in my resistance training; or that I used to wake up at 4:30 every morning to work out, and right now waking up at 5:30 (sometimes 6) is filled with dread and mid-day exhaustion. Now, when I feel pain, like I did last week at the base of my neck, I instantly fear the worst, then have to talk myself back to a somewhat rational state. I wonder if the slice of wedding cake I had last weekend is going to regrow a tumor. I wonder frequently if I'll have to call (or worse, email) my husband while he is deployed and tell him news that would terrify him.

I went to my first support group meeting after finishing treatment, and was pretty amazed at how quickly I had switched roles from a supportee to a supporter. There were several women there just starting their course of treatment, and I was the one with experience and tips to offer them. It seems like just a short time ago, I was crying trying to figure out how to deal with losing my eyelashes or possible infertility. I'm not sure I was really ready for that transition.

I realized on the way home from the meeting that I'm living a completely new normal. I'm no longer a breast cancer patient; I'm a breast cancer survivor. I'm still trying to come to terms with that, and what it exactly means. That some days I will be fine and other days I'll be emotional and tired and cranky and fearful. Hopefully, as both my body and mind heal from the trauma of the past year, my fine days will start outweighing the not so fine ones.

Thanks for sticking with me through this journey. I am incredibly grateful for your support and encouragement...

1 comment: