I had planned to do a totally different post for today, something that was not even related to cancer or health or being sick. When I sat down to write this though, this idea just hit me.
I talk about so many aspects of fighting cancer. It is easy, because I have been doing it for five years and I am still taking chemo. It is as much a part of my life as doing homework or deciding what to eat for dinner. But, one thing I do not share often, is the emotional toll.
I work really hard to not express my emotions publicly. I want to be real, but there is such a fine line between being too honest and romanticizing something really difficult.
Between three cancer diagnoses (two different types), I have experienced this emotional cycle several times. After five years, I am finally putting it into words.
*disclaimer, these are the emotions I have felt, but not everyone will feel the same way I have. While I am doing great right now, these are all a reflection on past feelings and emotions throughout my journey.
Starting with a diagnosis:
You will think “how could this happen to me? I did not think this could ever actually happen.”
At this stage, it is difficult to comprehend what is to come. You try to think positively, and it can be easy because you do not fully understand.
So much information. So many medical professionals to meet. So many tests. So many questions.
You finally have a chance to stop running and you realize how tired you have grown.
You are ready to fight. You have had time to accept it and now you are ready to beat it.
The treatment seems promising.
Is the treatment working?
Waiting on test results to show if the treatment is working is extremely challenging. Waiting is the worst.
Results and medical terminology are not always easy to comprehend.
If the results are good, a huge weight is lifted off of your shoulders.
You begin to look at life in a new light. You are living on borrowed time and a feeling of thanksgiving will overcome you.
You will feel hopeful for a future and for the opportunity to continue living, something that was not promised in the immediate past.
Continuing treatment can grow on you and you will fall weary.
When you finally finish treatment, you will celebrate closing a difficult chapter of your life.
Trying to return to normal life is not clear or easy.
You will always think about the possibility of relapse or long term side effects in the back of your mind.
You will want to keep moving forward and you will try to distance yourself from treatment and cancer.
You grow symptomatic and question why
Your body says it is not okay, but doctors keep reassuring you that you are fine.
You are intuitive and you learn to expect what is coming.
The bad news hits. You have practiced your reaction face over and over. Keep it together.
More treatment. More risks. UGH.