Its been almost 2 months since my final chemotherapy session and by all accounts it appears I’ve beaten the Big C, notwithstanding that I’m still awaiting that absolute CANCER FREE designation from my doctors. You would think all would be wonderful but alas no. I’d been surrounded by family and extended family just one week after my last chemo during a cousin’s wedding. By the 3 week mark, my taste buds were coming back and my oncologist had given me the all clear to resume eating raw vegetables.
The ugly truth is I’ve been a ball of emotions, exhausted and I dare say experiencing depression. I’ve gotten mad at myself for feeling this way, after all I ought to be happy to be on this side of treatment. I’ve wanted to blog but felt paralyzed, unable to put my thoughts down in any sensible way. Hot flashes have become the bane of my existence. It’s as if I’m now just mourning, just able to process what I’ve been through over the past 7 months.
I learned about my cancer diagnosis while in the throws of working on a concert production late last year. So ‘Breast Cancer’ simply became another heading on my checklist, according to my BFF I went into full show production mode with it. I planned everything meticulously and was in surgery just 10 days after the concert took place. My sister calls it ‘warrior mode’, which is I suppose, exactly what I needed to be to get through surgery and chemo. But now that its all done I’m sad, in a way mourning the loss of the person I was before all this. In many ways I’m a much better person now, certainly healthier, but I still miss the old me, my old body. And yes, I miss my breast. And I
hate dislike the prosthesis. It’s heavy and uncomfortable and makes me feel self conscious.
Although I’ve approached my diagnosis with general optimism, right now I feel heavy. Cancer has laid bare things I wasn’t ready to face, my vulnerability, the sheer uncertainty of life. And while it’s likely that I’m cancer free, cancer is always going to be there, as if it’s waiting in the wings or perched on my shoulder like an annoying fly. It was easy to write about cancer, writing about depression, not so much. Cancer you can explain, how on earth do I explain these feelings of melancholy.
Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I truly believe in the power of community and sharing. Last week I reluctantly made the trek to my monthly cooking club session, I was not feeling myself at all. Thanks to the moderator and my sister for pushing me to go. These folks, the majority of whom I just met in January allowed me to cry and be vulnerable, and had no judgement when I pulled off the prosthesis and shoved it in my handbag.
So while right now I feel like I’m in a bit of a fog, seeing things in varying shades of grey, hope springs eternal that the color will come back. Soon.