Many people use the imagery of fighting with cancer. Keep fighting. Fight like a girl. You are such a fighter. I’m generally okay with that imagery although I’ve learned that good fighters also know to choose their battles. Some battles are worth the fight while others are worth giving up. I find myself in a time of giving up a lot. Im struggling with it, even though my head tells me it is alright.
An alternate title for this blog could be “the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” July 24 will be my three year cancerversary. I had a 25 percent chance of making it that long. Here I am. But I am not anything like the person I was before that awful day in the doctor’s office. I miss her.
The old me was walking and jogging five days a week. She could work long hours. She could paint her deck and clean her house. She could pick up a laundry basket without a thought. She could go upstairs in her house without stopping to rest. She loved to ride on the back of a motorcycle with her husband and they spent a lot of beautiful evenings riding the county roads in our area. She could help her elderly mother around the house and run errands for her. She didn’t think about her death many times a day. She didn’t have hundreds of medical appointments each year. She had long, thick, fine hair and loved putting it up in a ponytail after work. She had thick eyebrows and long eye lashes that didn’t need mascara. She wasn’t in menopause (that came the moment of my first chemo treatment). She didn’t need a nap to get through the day. She loved to walk and would go on hikes with her kids. She wasn’t in pain all the time and certainly never needed opioids just to simply make it through a day. She had long range goals and pictured herself at events with her adult children. She didn’t have neuropathy from chemo so she could feel her fingertips and play the piano at the top of her game. She hadn’t experienced 2 years of constant steroid prescriptions that caused a huge weight gain and puffy cancer-like face. She didn’t know what it felt like to have a port installed as a permanent fixture to make it easier to get medicines. Her fingernails and toenails weren’t crumbly like chalk from chemo. She didn’t have thousands of medical expenses to pay every damn year. She wasn’t disabled and was prepared to fight any battle. She just assumed she would grow old with her husband.
I am disabled from cancer and it is time to stop fighting that fact and accept it. I overdo on good days and then it takes many more days to finally feel rested again. I’m suddenly living in a body that feels 30 years older than it is. I am giving up and trying hard to accept the new me even though I hate her.