I thought I was doing okay
I thought I was doing okay.
Finished treatment in April. Now part of the short grey hair brigade-hair has grown back grey and wirey so growing some length is not an option unless I want to look like 'the Doc' from Back to the future.
Back at work. It has taken the better part of 6 months to get my head around it all, renegotiating all my relationships, relationship to work stuff and myself etc. I honestly thought I was doing ok.
Then. Just in the last week I am an absolute panicky mess. A work colleague has just been diagnosed with cancer and someone I know who survived cancer has had a recurrence.
Now I can barely move off the bed. Nervous, anxious, scared and confronted.
I hate feeling like this and I hate remembering what I went through. Not because of the process it took-the surgery and treatment was active and I was doing something. It's the after part that is hard. I read in someone else's post that the advertisements, the billboards, the breast cancer reminders are everywhere and they kind of stalk you. I have had some counseling. I did a mindfulness workshop of 6 weeks duration and I still don't know if the fear and panic will ever end. It is so hard to live with. I find I am going along busy, happy, content, smiling and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder why I have cut my hair so short? Oh that's right I had cancer. I had breast cancer. Cancer. The thing that everyone fears. The thing that terrifies me. The thing that people die of.
I want to forget, I want there to be as much distance as possible between me and the diagnosis. I want to be 5 years post diagnosis, 15 years post diagnosis or even 20 years. I don't want to be tarred with this awful brush. I don't want to be the person people look at and think "she had cancer, oh yes she used to have shoulder length brown hair now she has grey short hair. She has put on a bit of weight too". I see colleagues at work, whom I previously had good relationships with, as shallow, superficial, judgemental and not my kind of people. I see people through different eyes. Through a different lens. Everything has changed. I have changed. I am still trying to work out what and who that is. I have periods where I forget. And then crashing reminders of what I had and went through. Breast cancer.
Every twinge, every ache, every small different feeling in my body and I'm 'oh that's right that itchy feeling is from the radiation". "Wait, I had radiation? I had breast cancer?" And the tumble of emotions, thoughts, feelings, reality all rolls back in.
I embark on an overseas holiday with my husband in a week. And now I am terrified and I don't want to go. I just want to stay on my bed. I keep thinking I should be happy and be doing as much as I can. Everything has changed. All my relationships. My relationship with myself, everything.
Thanks for listening while I am having this panic attack.
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