Cancer is my scapegoat

I seem to cruise along, then get into a funk.

Today is one … I hurt all over for no damn good reason. I know it’s from chemo … almost three years ago now. This hurting – the places and ways it aches – is just different. It’s not normal … it’s not due to exercise or lack of exercise, nutrition, illness, etc. It’s the damn chemo pain come back to haunt me. It’s nothing I ever experienced before chemo, but now I do. It’s raining today – a chilly rain – and I think that’s what is setting it off. I feel like a grumpy old lady, bothered by aches and chills. And I am about to turn 38.

I met a woman last week who is 39 and just finishing radiation. She finished chemo in January. She looked great, even with a wig, and seemed to have lots of energy for her four little children! I was floored. I was half-dead by the end of chemo – I thank my lucky stars I didn’t need radiation. She told me she really hadn’t had a lot of problems and just breezed through it. Ergh. I was glad for her, but not happy for myself. I didn’t breeze through jack shit.

A survivor asked today, “what is the new normal? WHERE is it?” I had to find a new normal when cancer struck, then again when my marriage ended. I don’t believe in normal anymore! We have what we have and we are either happy with it or not. Some of it we can change. Some of it we can’t. It just is what it is and THAT is what people call normal.

More than anything, my divorce has changed my life. I have lots of moments where I want to hit the “rewind” on that situation – go back to when I was madly in love with my husband and thought nothing could ever come between us; back to when we were planning more babies and loving the little one we have; back to dreaming about growing old, sitting on the deck in rocking chairs; back to when I thought he was the sweetest, most honest person I’d ever known; back to innocence; back to the fantasy.

As much as I might try, you can’t do that. (Wouldn’t it be exciting if you could?) Once that all fell apart, I really had to re-envision my life – completely. It destroyed everything I had or thought I had far more than cancer. So, it was a double-whammy. Cancer in 2006. Husband left in 2007. Everything I knew and held dear was stripped from me.

The best I can do is say that I have to approach everything with this “clean slate” that I have been given. I didn’t choose to erase the white board. It was erased for me. But now I get to fill it up again. The choices are all mine. Do I use dry erase markers or Sharpies? Do I use shading or draw stick figures? Do I get artistic help or do it all on my own? It’s exciting in a lot of ways; scary in others.

And the truth is: it could all get erased again. Even Sharpies aren’t REALLY permanent.

Life is precious. Friends are precious. Love is precious. My mind, my freedom, my choices are critical. I will never give those up again.

Even though I feel like I have a pretty good handle on this a lot of the time, I don’t always. And today, I’m hurty and I blame cancer.

Author: rosie

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