This weekend was the first good weekend I’ve had in a long while…
Somewhere after treatment #6 three and a half weeks ago, I started to run out of steam. The physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the treatments and having cancer started to get to me. Rightfully so I think, as this is a journey with a lot of peaks and valleys. With that said though, I think it’s important to climb my way out of those valleys.
A lot of my feeling good is just a combination of side effects and coincidences. First and foremost, the weather has been great. We’ve lucked out with a beautiful autumn in this area, and getting outside and moving my body is the best therapy I can think of.
On top of that, my lungs are feeling great. I didn’t realize how miserable I was gasping for air and coughing until I got some relief. At first I was really, really bummed to learn that the chemo poisoned my lungs. But the symptom relief has made me hopeful the damages won’t be forever, and that I won’t have to be on these steroids long enough for any major side effects to take place.
One thing about feeling crappy all the time is that I’m stuck inside the house all the time. But this weekend I was able to get out of the house and it was so good for the soul! Excursions included an impromptu lunch at the neighbourhood diner, brunch with the fam, a scenic drive through back roads…
There was apple picking with my sister!
We gathered quite a bit, most of which I think is destined to become apple butter…
I took care of the apple crisp right away, obviously.
Not to mention, a surprise visit with some of my favourite people (my best friend’s mother, who I call my ‘second mom’). She snapped a future Christmas card photo of Buster and I.
This past year has not been a good one for me. Before my cancer diagnosis in June, I had already been out of commission from getting reconstructive surgery on my arm. I haven’t been in good physical health since before 2011. Being unwell for such a prolonged period of time really started to get to me. As I expressed last week, I am ready for this cancer and broken arm thing to be OVER so I can just move on with my life already.
But in writing this out last week, I started to realize that it was not good to compare the life I have now to the one I had before. To compare the body I have now to the one I had before. The comments and e-mails I got from people only helped grow that seed further.
Something clicked with me this weekend, and I realized that I am never going to be the person who I was in 2010, or 2009, etc, etc. Instead it’s time I start coping with the fact that I am a person living with a disease. For so long I was scared of embracing my cancer because 1) I wanted an identity outside of my disease, and 2) I didn’t want to welcome the cancer into my body in any way.
However, I think the idea that I can just ditch my cancer to curb is what makes me feel like I am standing still until it’s gone. Instead, I am a young woman living and loving life with a disease. I do not have to wait until the disease is gone to do those things. The peaks and valleys that come with cancer don’t just exist for the duration of treatment, but will exist for the duration of my life. I realize that I should just embrace and expect it, rather than think things will ever go back to being “normal.”
The person I used to be was pretty rad, but the new me, the future me, will be just as great. Believe it or not, now that I’ve started accepting my illness as part of who I am, I feel more like myself again. Best of all however, this weekend I felt like I started moving forward again. But this time I am not moving towards any finish line, this time I’m just enjoying the scenery of the ride.