I know I am always preaching happiness and gratitude, and how this journey has given me those. Because it has. I like to think I am a pretty positive girl and I’ve been told by many people that they actually forget I have cancer because I look so happy and healthy. Truth! But there’s another side to this, and I’m aware that I don’t discuss it as much as I would like to – For all the other cancer patients out there that can read this and just feel some sort of clarity and to think “I totally get it.” And of course, for my friends and family and other supporters from the sidelines to understand and really try to see what goes on..
This post is super real and raw, it’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows. I want to let you in on what it’s really, really like battling a cancer diagnosis. Cause it ain’t pretty. But it’s life. And this isn’t some rare disease. It’s so common these days and I feel like expressing what I go through could help others. And of course, I’m only human.
I literally wrote out dot points in my journal of what I experience every day to at least once or twice a week. So let’s just dive straight into it..
Going through cancer, I just basically have to take it day by day. Even though I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes I like to sit there and envision my life free of cancer, which is so lovely and exciting to think about, but at the same time I can experience this ache in my heart because I long for this so badly and life without cancer seems almost blurry, like it’s so close yet so far away. It can drive me mad. I wish I could click my fingers and it be over. Speaking of life after cancer… I forget what it’s like to actually live a life without it and even though I want nothing more than to be free of this f’king disease and I can’t wait for the day I am, I am also so fearful of what happens afterwards. When treatment is all finished.. How do you get on with life? Is everything different now? Obviously I am a changed person from it, but will I be damaged afterwards or will I continue to own it? Even though it’ll be over, does it actually, truly end? Am I going to be constantly scared of relapsing? I suppose I will just have to also take healing after cancer day by day too.
I am sure everyone has seen how much of a happy person I really am, but I can be so happy one minute and then get a rush of sadness the next. It feels as though it hits me straight in the chest and takes the breath out of me. Nothing even has to trigger it. I don’t usually show it when it happens and I usually just fob it off if I’m out and about, but if I’m at home, during the week whilst everyone is working I’ll usually curl up in a ball in my room. I don’t cry because I feel so numb and then I get into a mood. I think my family knows by now to just leave me be during this time. I’m extra snappy and I get really agitated to the point I just want to throw shit around my room, but I am so not the aggressive type haha. You can usually tell when this comes on because I’ll sometimes let out a big sigh or I’m just not very talkative at all.
I have these lumps in my neck that I’ve used as my little indicators on how I’m progressing. They used to be huge. Like bulging out of my neck huge and they were hard as a rock. They’re tiny now! But oh my gosh, please if you ever see me constantly feeling my neck, slap me on the hand. It’s sooo annoying. Are they getting smaller? I cannot tell, but I feel them everyday. I really do try not too, and I think I have gotten better at refraining from touching them like, 10 minutes after I already did. But honestly, I don’t even realise I’m doing it sometimes. I think this is a bit of anxiety. Are they still there? Are they smaller? Is it all in my head? What am I actually feeling?
I also get overwhelming thoughts about death. How there’s not a guarantee everything’s going to be okay. I mean, I truly believe it is but the doctors can’t tell you that and sometimes I would like to hear it from them, because they’re the experts in this field and I suppose as just that extra bit of reassurance because I don’t actually ever feel entirely, 100% safe. Speaking of feeling safe, sometimes I feel like I just need a big long hug. I’m one of those people that would love to peak into my future and see that I am still here, well and happy. Or if I need to prepare myself for something else. Even though my last scan results showed amazing improvement, I still never feel like I’m in the safe zone. And I am still nervous as hell for the next one. I just feel as though nothing is certain. It scares the f*ck out of me.
Okay, now before I get into this one I just want to make it super clear that I am sooo grateful for my friends, family and the community around me for everything they do for me 🙂 BUT even though I have the best support system I could ask for and I know my loved ones would do anything for me and listen to everything I say and truly try and understand how I’m feeling. I can’t help but feel so alone in this. Like no one else around me is going through it (apart from my fellow cancer fighting babes who I chat to online) I feel as though I can’t sit there, have a conversation and be able to relate my stuff I go through with people. It’s just a feeling I feel from going through what I’ve been through. Just like, I’m sure, other people have been through other things that others haven’t… If that makes sense?
Since battling cancer, I haven’t worked. And that’s a long time without working… How do people do it!? It’s so boring! And seriously, I feel lost and like I don’t have a purpose. I cannot wait to work again! Which I might be able to soon as I’m currently waiting for my doctor to do a little bit more research into this drug I’m having as she thinks it’s possibly okay for me to do some short shifts 🙂 Fingers crossed. I need some normality back. And some more $$ – it’s a tough life living off centerlink. I miss getting a proper income going into my account haha. They say money can’t buy happiness and I totally get that as happiness has to come from within first, but I kinda need it to live…
Just stating the obvious here, I can get really tired easily.
I don’t want people looking at me like “I’m the girl with cancer” all the time. Yes, it’s my story now and I love to share it, but at the same time I don’t want people treating me any different to the person next to me. And I do fear that people do. I am not my “disease” but I am who I am now because of it. Maybe it’s all in my head? But I can’t help but think maybe people don’t know how to act around me or what to say. Do they walk on egg shells around me? Do they not know how to approach me? Does cancer talk scare them? I don’t know, but please, I am still a human being haha. I am still completely normal and I’m an open book!
Anywayssss, this is just a few things, along with dealing with an intense sickness from chemo, losing strength and energy, losing hair and feeling ugly and not myself, and dealing with the mental side of things. It gets really hard watching others go about their day to day lives with a sense of freedom as I want that so badly. It was way worse though when I was on an intense chemo where I felt stuck at home. I felt like it was so unfair and I felt like I was missing out. I don’t want anyone else to have to endure what I’ve had to, but I so badly wanted to be out there doing what everyone else was doing. Working, living, travelling, buying homes, having babies or going out and having fun. All that normal stuff. And it is better now that this other treatment allows me to live a little more. Annnd I’m totally rambling and pouring out all my feelings right now. Anyways, the list goes on! But hey, that could go on for way too long and I don’t want to sound to depressing. But overall, going through this cancer battle, sometimes I just feel stuck. Like I’m rooted to this spot forever. Not moving and not going anywhere. Even though I probably am. No, I am, I totally am.
I just feel like I’m waiting and waiting. Waiting out the end of this treatment. Waiting for this chapter to close and another one open. And even though for me and my experience in this I have had many highs and I’ve been super happy because I changed my lifestyle for the better and I loveee it, it also comes with it’s lows. And when those lows come, they get real low. I just feel like I’ve been carrying a heavy weight on my shoulders, even when I’m at my happiest self possible, it’s always going to be there and I feel like the weight isn’t going to be lifted until I well and truly know that this fight is over.
P.S. I wish this was all on the symptoms sheet the doctors hand you when you first get diagnosed with cancer.
I just would like to leave it at that, but know that this isn’t a sympathy post what so ever. I just love sharing my life, my journey and not only the beautiful parts about it but also the shit parts. Lets be real here, no journey is a straight line or a walk in the park. And I would personally love to read other people’s journeys with all the nitty gritty stuff. We need to remember that no ones lives are perfect and we don’t just breeze through it. We all face different obstacles and we are all filled with so many different emotions whether you show it or not. You have them!
Please appreciate your life, live it to the fullest and love it hard. Have fun and try not too sweat the small things that probably won’t matter later down the track.. It ain’t worth it. If somethings not lifting you up and making you happy, cut it. If you wanna do something, or go somewhere, or be someone better than you are. Do it. Don’t let fear stop you from doing the things you truly want to do. This doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be hard, because we all know that nothing comes easy in life. But you have to make sacrifices to get where you want to be and who you want to be in life. Like I always say, life is just too short for anything less than what you want and deserve.
And most importantly – Be a kind human and choose happiness.
P.P.S If you haven’t already realised, I’m clearly a sucker for a good sunrise and I thought this photo was relevant as there’s just something about sitting by the ocean watching the sun rise that calms my mind. It helps me feel that no matter the darkness and the obstacles I endure, there is still such beauty to be seen.