It’s been a while since I’ve visited my blog for any reason. Don’t get me wrong… I’ve thought about posting something new tons of times, but every time, that inexplicable yet overwhelming feeling washed over me… that feeling that said “Don’t talk about it” or “I’m tired of talking about it” or “There has to be something else to focus on besides cancer”.
I had a Niagara Falls-esque outpour of emotions right about the time my scheduled treatment was ending. It was Friday, March 2; the last treatment on my calendar- it was internal radiation. I had already rung the bell for my last chemo treatment and the bell for my last external beam radiation (there is literally a bell that you ring and then everyone cheers… I cried both times I rang those bells… in fact, by the time I got to the bell for external radiation, I’d already been crying for at least 10 minutes). I was looking forward to ringing the bell one more time to celebrate not only my last internal treatment but my last treatment period. Well, at some point during the treatment, it was determined that my hemoglobin count had dropped again, and my doctor was recommending another blood transfusion. He said that my counts would likely go up on their own since chemo and radiation were over, but that it might take several weeks. Let’s be clear here- I did not want the transfusion. I had mentally prepared myself for 7 weeks of treatment, NOT 7 weeks and 1 day. My strength and courage had a shelf life of 7 weeks and they had expired. It was Saturday, the day after the expiration date, and I was talking with my doctor about my options in regards to the transfusion. I decided that I would get the transfusion so that I could get back to living sooner.
Cue the Falls.
I was a wreck. I was crying uncontrollably. Later my psychologist would tell me that this happens to a lot of cancer patients. They get an “end of treatment” date in their heads and are able to stay strong until then, and when that date comes, they realize that treatment hasn’t really ended. They remember that for the next 5 years of their lives they will be poked and prodded and scanned regularly to ensure the cancer is actually gone. With this realization comes the torrential downpour of all the emotions they wouldn’t let themselves experience before “the end of treatment”. Ok, so at least the erratic, extreme emotions I was having were on the spectrum of normal. As bizarre as it may sound, I felt so much better hearing this. I may have felt like an absolute psycho, but at least I was a normal psycho…
The guys filming the documentary came back to film my transfusion and my appointment with Dr. Mutch. They also interviewed me for several hours one day. Creative editing aside, I’m interested to see how I come across, given my state of mind at the time. Yikes is all I have to say.
In a nutshell, that’s all that’s been going on for me since then. My psychologist is leading me through some activities to help me establish my “New Normal”. It’s exactly what it sounds like. My life is no longer going to be like it was before, and I have to figure out what will be normal for me now. All of this is extra interesting given that my “normal” was in the process of being all shaken up when I found out I had cancer in the first place. If you’ll remember, I had recently moved from Chicago to work in Florida, but quit that job literally days before my diagnosis to move back to the Midwest, the hubs (who I’d secretly been married to for a year, and had known for only a smidgen longer than that) was in Afghanistan, and I was going to move to Germany with him after his deployment. Somebody, please, for the love of all that is good in this world, point out the “normal” part of what my life was doing pre-diagnosis. And then help me figure out my “New Normal”. Thanks.