On Monday my oncologist and nurse practitioner talked to me about their concern for my emotional health. They had just told me they were pushing back treatment (again) and that my thanksgiving weekend would be spent getting chemo shots in Boston. I made a joke and moved on.
Sure I was upset, but there’s no point in being upset in a cold, in-personal, hospital room.
They came back in and told me they thought I needed to deal with everything more. That this is a two-plus year journey and if I don’t deal with what I’ve already gone through it’s only going to make the next part of my life more difficult.
Then my NP and I had a talk. She was really concerned for me, after all, I almost died and hadn’t dealt with it. I mean…how do you “deal with it?”
It’s weird to say, or think about because you think of someone saying “I almost died” in some dramatic fashion. “I almost died from being attacked by a lion,”; “I almost died when the train failed to stop, luckily Channing Tatum pulled me from the tracks at the last moment.” You don’t expect someone to say “I almost died from cancer that I didn’t even know I had, luckily they caught it just in time and I was rushed to a floor, which I couldn’t leave for a month, and now am in a treatment protocol that will last two years.”
But that’s my truth. If I hadn’t gone to the doctor’s office on March 27th, if I didn’t get the call to go to the ER on March 28th, if I hadn’t moved home in January – it’s scary to even think about it.
Since our talk I’ve been thinking, and crying…I’ve been doing a lot of crying.
I feel like I’m living on borrowed time now, and I don’t think I’m making the best use of it. Every day I should wake up with a sense of “OH MY GOD I’M ALIVE” but I don’t. It’s more “oh my god, another appointment. What are they going to do to me today?”
I’m mad at myself for not being happier – that makes sense right? I mean after all I could be dead, so I should be dancing through the streets, singing songs of joy, experiencing everything life has to offer because who knows when my borrowed time will be up?
But it’s hard to be happy when I’m mad. No, not mad, pissed. I’m pissed that I don’t get to go to work, or start a career like most 25-year-olds do, pissed that I can’t take care of myself, pissed that I have to use a mass health car service to get to my appointments because I’m not allowed to take public transportation, pissed that I can’t drive right now, pissed that every day it’s harder to see, that I don’t have the strength to walk my dog, that my finger tips go numb, that I have no hair, that I don’t get to spend thanksgiving with my sister, that I can’t be a normal 25-year-old.
All I want is to be able to go to an office, come home, take my dog for a walk, make dinner with my boyfriend, and live a normal life. Instead, I’m stuck with doctors appointments, hospital stays, constant fear of cancer coming back, extremely restricted diets, limits on what I can do, limits on where I can go, and knowing I put my friends and family through so much worrying.
So maybe I tell a joke to go through the motions in public. It’s better then showing the public what I’m really feeling – which is being pissed.