Monday, April 15, 2013

There's Beauty In The Breakdown

My heart is heavy today. I am sad for all of my cancer buddies going through tough times. All of my brave friends recovering from or preparing for surgeries... My courageous cancer peeps waiting on test results... The ones in and out of the ER and those who are dealing with relapses. Everyone facing fears, loss and grief. I am sad for the girl I only was acquainted with through Facebook who passed away last week. Devastated for her family and all who knew her. Upset for all who are hurting and are in pain. Saddened by the senselessness that occurred in Boston today. (Seriously, world! Why!?)

At times like these there really are no words.

I just feel so sad about all the suffering. I pray for healing and strength. Peace and love to so many right now.

By the end of this week I will hopefully be doing some continued healing of my own. I am attending a Young Adult cancer retreat in Lake Louise, Alberta that I am both nervous and excited about. I was fortunate enough to have the entire trip paid for by the aid of Young Adult Cancer Canada as well as some generous donations from a previous employer and a few family members. YACC's mission is that money issues don't keep people from being able to attend their retreats and I am so thankful for that. Because of this, Mike is able to go as my support person which I am so grateful for. This will give us both the opportunity to meet with other under 35ers who have been affected by cancer. We will spend the weekend with others who get the challenges we have faced. Be heard and understood. Get out the things we might need to say to people who 'get it'. And hopefully make a few new friends and come home feeling lighter.

Only, the day after we return from Calgary I have surgery so I imagine 'lighter' might not be exactly my state of mind. I am already pretty anxious about the tight time frame of our agenda, the flying and the travel in general. Throw a surgery in the mix and I am actively playing out the various scenarios in my mind of what could go wrong. Have I mentioned how much cancer has amplified worry for me?

Speaking of amplified worry... I still have man-voice in the mornings, a wimpy cough, dizziness and vertigo caused by the virus I have had. But I am on the mend and made it through my first flu bug since being diagnosed. I got through it but not without some really horrible days of fear and what I will refer to as 'pent up trauma'.

These were my worst sick days where not only was I was convinced that my flu was cancer again, I also thought I could be dying. In my skewed mind it was cancer showing me that my immune system was down and that it was wreaking havoc on my cells. I had a few PTSD incidents where I was reminded of my chemo days and felt so sick to my stomach that I couldn't control the worry and sheer fear of treatment.

Just when I thought I was doing so much better with not fearing recurrence every single day, I was hit with this overwhelming terror of having to deal with cancer again. And all the things that come with it. Mostly it was the thought of chemo that terrified me. And the more I thought of it, the more nauseous I felt. The more nauseous I felt, the more I feared cancer and treatment again. The more I thought of being told I had cancer the more I could taste the drugs in my mouth. The more I tasted the drug the more I could vividly recall how robbed my mind was during those Dexamethosone hazes. And how screwed up it made me on all levels.

And then I just felt so ill. My blueberry and kale shake disgusted me, bringing me back to treatment days. The glass of water and vitamins in front of me reminded me of being taken care of during chemo. Even sitting on the couch wrapped up in blankets made me want to run far far away from my own skin.

It was a vicious cycle of feeling like I was going to barf, being reminded of things that made me feel that way, and feeling that way even more. And I completely spiralled as the merry-go-round from hell spun me around and around until I was so far down I couldn't keep myself from sobbing as Mike held me.

Those were not good sick days.

Finally what helped me was going to the beach and screaming at nothing and everything from the top of my lungs. This sounded pretty weak considering I barely had a voice to begin with, but luckily there was no one around to hear me. Except Mike, of course, who kept anxiously looking around to make sure nobody happened to be close by in case they thought I was yelling at him. Such a good sport he is.

And all that screaming... It released something for me.

As I cried kneeling down on the rocks I felt so broken but yet so alive at the same time. Like I had been waiting to let go of what I had been holding on to for months. All that held emotion. The Fear. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. I was letting go.

And as if on queue, just as I was about to stand up, the clouds parted above me and the sun came out for about 30 seconds. And I laughed at the beautiful perfection of this and felt much better.

Sometimes I guess all you need is a good cry and a random screaming session to help you get out of that pitiful hole of despair. After all, we can only hold things in for so long before we burst. You can't keep it in. It must come out.


  1. A good cry and random screaming sound just about right. I'm south you have had such a hard time. Our blogger Katie went on that YACC retreat last year and she enjoyed it very much. Have fun and rest. ~ Catherine

    1. Thanks Catherine... I follow Katie's blogs too!

  2. A good cry every now and then is crucial. So happy you both are getting a chance to get away for the retreat. Have a great time - can't wait to hear about it! :)

  3. "Felt so broken yet so alive" I love that and you!

  4. This really leaves me teary eyed. You write so well my friend. So moving. Your chemo flashbacks gave me goosebumps. But that is cuz mine are still so vivid. You really are a beautiful person and I want to give you a big hug. And that Mike guy really is a keeper, good thing you're going to marry him ;) p.s. do not worry too much okay... I don't know why but I'm having a feeling... that everything will be okay!

    1. Oh Ciel... you are so sweet... I am giving you a big hug right back lady!

  5. have just been diagnosed. asked husband not to tell anyone yet. he has already told several people already..what do I do?

    1. Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I hope that you can communicate your feelings to your loved ones in a way that they can respect your wishes and emotions. Cancer is tough on everyone... the person going through it and the supporters... I imagine your husband is possibly looking for support of his own perhaps by telling people? Wishing you all the best with whatever course of treatment you must go through. Hugs.