It’s November 12th, 2023. In four days I will be 2 years post-final chemo. In December just days before Christmas, I will be considered 2 years cancer-free. I began this year at an extremely slow pace just trying to come down from all the treatments, diagnostics, and doctor’s visits and just process all the trauma I had been through with trying to rid my body of cancer.
Life slowed down so much for me that it was a little odd not having to be somewhere. You go from fighting every day trying to overcome to just trying to regain a sense of your old sense of self, your old life, the life you loved and not having a million constant battles. These days, the constant battles I feel are managing the anxiety I have from not wanting a recurrence.
I set a lot of goals at the beginning of this year, mostly to take time for me. I got myself a therapist who helped me immensely; helped me to unpack all I went through physically, emotionally, and mentally. She helped me to get out of my fight-or-flight mode and to be present. She helped me to forgive. She validated me. She gave me permission to take my time to process everything. I set goals for my business; goals to improve my craft; reading goals; travel goals; and even socialization goals… did ’em!
It’s November and I am proud of myself for all I’ve done and accomplished this year. The urgency I feel to DO is real. Making use of my time is extremely important, and time to rest and care for myself too. Still, I am not doing enough and things are not happening fast enough. As a survivor I have to manage the anxiety that is ever present in the back of my mind that creeps to the forefront when I notice something on my breast that wasn’t there before, or feel something on my breast that is unusual; or even other parts of my body. I do not like it. I think about my Dad a lot about what he must have gone through during his own battle with pancreatic cancer and how alone he must have felt.
We are all living on borrowed time, but I’ve been made more aware of mine and that kinda sucks. As my therapist said, a veil has been lifted from my eyes. It’s in these moments when I feel really alone that I just wish to be held, comforted, and told I’m going to be alright. I want to be here to cheer my kids on in their own life journies. I want to spend time with my family and friends learning and growing. I want to see more and do more in this beautiful world. Honestly, I don’t manage my anxiety well. I’m not good at it because I just like to be a joyful person. Maybe it’s better to not think about it at all except some days I just can’t help it. Some days I get up and I am just tired—tired of dealing with cancer—I’m tired of hearing how many people I know have been affected by it themselves just this past year. Just tell me I’m gonna be okay because I don’t want to go through it again.
Some days you feel like a champion, and other days you just want some peace of mind.