Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Do We Want?

Strength does not come from winning
Your struggles develop your strength.
When you go through hardship
and decide not to surrender,
that is strength.

I had a moment today, sad really that my minutes have come to this.

I was feeling better after chemo #4 and slept in until my inside clock told me to wake up. I have decided while going through all of this I will not set an alarm, I will not rush myself, I will move when my body says move. It has been helpful at times, but then very panicky at others for I just want to get up early and be well rested to go to work. So, I roll my eyes open at whatever time it was and do a body check. You know what that is, right? You are lying there, don't move and just kind of let your mind float over your parts to check in and see how they are feeling. I must say I felt OK, still some aches but I can manage. I get up, take the dogs out, eat some oatmeal for breakfast, and get ready to go to work, because I am going to today, nothing is going to stop me....and I mean nothing....no really, nothing at all, I am going....... And then I see it, my image, and that can stop me....dead in my tracks really.

I am still not used to the peach fuzz filled head, the swollen face, the eyes with huge bags under them, the pot-belly, one "boob" sitting on the right, the other "boob" just a bunch of skin waiting to be filled on the left. The stitch marks across where my nipples should be, all hideous to the sight, and all me....Wonderful, who wants to go out now into the world when you have this to work with? Pick someone else please, I don't want to go.

And did I mention the 20 pounds I have so quickly and elegantly put on? The weight that has accumulated somewhere in the belly region and won't allow me to button up my pants, and look even tighter than before. So what to wear, standing there, staring in the closet at all the clothes that line the racks and not of one of them do I want to wear. I don't want to be stuffed into some article of clothing, I want to be comfortable as I sit all day at my desk. But, I also want to feel like I have done something with myself when others come in. Although I really don't care, do I? I will wear this, grab something, put it on, and get out the door. I don't want to feel sorry for myself.

I have to go to the pharmacy to get my Tomoxafin (however you spell it), the pill I will take everyday for the next five years. That is 365 days per year at five years, and equates to 1,825 days and I have been taking them since Saturday night, that is, uh, .... three doeses thus far. "Stupendous!" I say, "only 1,822 days to go." But who's counting.

And for some reason as I am leaving the pharmacy, heading to the car to go to work, my eyes begin to well right up, the faucet has turned on. And this overwhelming feeling just sweeps over me because I have to do this for five years. And then all the other stupid thoughts.... will I live five years more? what if it comes back? I really wanted children of my own? Why does Jeremy stay? Did I really park like that? And the inevetible....."Why me?"

I sat in the car, crying.....And why not, I cried some more.

Not alot is done with those that sit around feeling sorry for themselves. I don't want to be one of those but at times I find that I do. At this point I have nothing more to fight with - the chemotherapy, I have nothing more to wait for - the chemotherapy, I have no more to be fearful of - the chemotherapy. It is done, I am cancer-free, right? It seems I have this big job to fill - being an inspiration and role model for many..... I don't want the job anymore, it is overwhelming.  How can I possibly have bad days, everyone is watching. I have to button up and "Be INSPIRATIONAL!" Can we trade places?

In my support group a woman said,"I am tired of everyone telling me I look great, that I have made it through and am stronger for it. I have not," she says, "I am still fighting it, still have treatment, I don't look good, I don't feel good, everyday is a struggle to get out of bed, smile and step out the door. I wish they would say nothing at all." She was angry, and had the courgage to say what a lot of us in the group might want to. And all went very silent with nodding heads in agreement.....

But I have to wonder.....is that what we really want, as survivors, to then be ignored?

Be inspiring?

I just want to be normal......but there isn't one anymore, I have this NEW normal......
All of it so overwhelming........


  1. horrible as it seems, i'm glad not every day is good. i don't want to have to live up to you, i just want to make it through this, like you are. keep fighting. keep feeling. keep telling us, those who are behind you (in more ways than just supporting you) what you're going through so we understand, and appreciate what an effort it is to just BE. hugs to you.

  2. Liza, that is so true. Thank you for your honesty. All of this only makes me stronger, right? Funny how finding strength makes you want to tear out your eyeballs.

  3. I am a friend of Darby and Brittney - there are certain situations that are rare and leave all of us wondering what to do and say. Every person has a good and bad day and I say enjoy them. It's not always smiles and happy. I'm enjoying reading about your journey. I've been the onlooker to family and friends with cancer and find your journey and word inspirational.

    Have you considered getting a tattoo where your areola used to be? I told Marc that I would get heart tattoos where my areola's are if I ever have breast cancer or need my breasts removed.

  4. Heather, thank you. And yes, I will get tatoos when this is all said and done. Always been afraid of the pain of them, but I have no feeling so why not. I don't know of what yet, but something.