Getting Honest

I have not blogged lately. I have not even journaled privately lately. Why is it when you most need to do something to help yourself, you don’t? Keeping up the bravado is exhausting. My therapist says that I need to allow myself to be honest to find some peace.

Two years ago today (7/10/2019) I walk-jogged 10K after work and stepped into the shower to cool off. Instantly I felt what seemed to be a huge lump in my right breast. My mind raced. Had I missed it before? How could I have missed it? Could this be cancer? How could it be cancer? I hurried out of the shower to have Dave confirm that I was not imagining things.

I wasn’t.

My therapist asked me what the worst part is of having terminal cancer. That was easy to answer: constant exhaustion. Sure, there is physical fatigue. What I’m talking about is the sheer mental exhaustion from never ever ever being able to escape from cancer in my mind. Since my diagnosis of de novo MBC, I have not gone more than 10 minutes without thinking about cancer. For the last 716 days of my life I have not been able to go 10 minutes without thinking about cancer. Sleep doesn’t help as I frequently dream about cancer, too.

Last week I attended the wedding of a high school classmate. Two of my dearest friends were there along with several other classmates. I hope that none of them knew what was playing out in my mind. I tried to stay joyful. But I see my friends living their lives without the threat of impending death and I am so utterly jealous and bitter that I am ashamed. There was talk of our 35th reunion next year and who would plan it from our class. I was wondering if I will be able to attend. There was talk of future retirement plans. I will not live to see retirement. Some classmates have grandchildren. I wonder if I will even see all my kids graduate from college or get married. I am pretty sure I will never hold a grandchild. I looked at the bride and groom and fervently hoped they will have 50 years of happiness together. At the same time, I realize that cancer will rob me of decades of time with my husband, who is my high school sweetheart and the love of my life.

My grandma always said, “You can laugh or cry about your troubles, but life is more fun when you laugh.” I do my best at laughing about cancer. My friend, Sara, and my daughter understand my dark sense of humor and indulge me. I don’t often show anyone my true feelings. My therapist gets the brunt of it all. People who love me need to see me being the brave warrior. The determined stoic. No one would want to be around me if I showed them the part of me that is terrified of so many things —- brain tumors that incapacitate me, needing people to care for my daily needs, increased pain, leaving my kids without a mom, leaving my mom without a daughter, leaving my soulmate, wondering if people will eventually forget me, wondering if other people will replace me.

At my darkest moments I always turn to God. I have learned that there are things in life that are not meant for me to understand. I just need to know that God is there for me. Always. And God is there for my kids. And my mom. And my best friends. And my incredible, amazing Dave.

So all these thoughts are whirring around me all day every day. Almost two years of it. I’m exhausted and need a huge break. I need to lay down the yoke. I need to work less and ask for help more. I cannot continue physically fighting cancer when my mind is so tired.

It’s 2 am and I’m tired of being honest now. My lab, Indie, is waiting for me to turn off the lights and go to sleep. I’m going to curl up with her and try to dream about all the people who love me. Tomorrow is a new day.

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