Well Enough to Feel It

Yesterday was not a good day. The waiting is driving me nuts and reminding me of just how little control I have over this disease and over my treatment. I thought I’d be thrilled to have a bit more strength and a bit more immunity to be in the world this week, but the definition of “in the world” is limited. I’ve run a few errands, but realized quickly just what a landmine a grocery store or other public place can be. Even stopping at the local farm stand (a trip I usually enjoy) caused me to freeze when someone I didn’t know (and whose disease-free status I could not assess) came a bit too close to me while waiting to check out. The last thing I need right now is to get sick and cause more delays. Plus I learned the hard way that I’m not as energetic as I think I am. Yes, stronger than the worst chemo days, but not what I used to be. So not exactly a free ride in the world and a reminder that I’m still a cancer patient.

Mostly I’ve been strong and alert enough to think about my situation, about how long it will take before I am really able to be in the world, and about how I’m not making any progress this week toward the end goal. So the tears — which have largely been absent — have been flowing. I’m sad, bald, lonely, scared, and my Wonder Woman cape is nowhere to be found. And while I feel very alone in this, I’m also not feeling much like being around friends and family, thinking that what they want to see is Warrior Janet, not Sad Janet. Needless to say, I’ve been really hard on my husband, who has been taking cues from me that I’m fine and don’t need any help. Clearly not true, and to some degree “acting as if” in order to take care of him. Yesterday that all fell apart.

It’s also a few days before my birthday — my 62nd — typically a difficult time for me, now compounded by the idea that I may be spending the day in an infusion suite. As sucky birthdays go, this one will take the cake. Generally, I do ok if I take care of myself — buy myself gifts, arrange a celebration, etc. — vs. relying on others who are bound to disappoint, but I’m just not up to it this year, plus the whole “being in the world” problem. One good friend suggested that I could look at this birthday as a rebirth of a healthier me… I like that idea.

Last night I reached out to my team of other survivors and got some great advice and validation that days like yesterday will happen, and to accept them vs. fight them. Someone also expressed some surprise that it took this long for me to have a day like that. Amazing, amazing women.

I’m off to the oncologist and hope I learn that I’m back on track with chemo — I was cleared by the surgeon earlier this week, so I should be. Dates on a calendar, even if one of them is my birthday, will be reassuring.

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