Because why not, right?
I think I'm going to print that picture out and tape it on my mirror, because there are days when it's really difficult to focus on being awesome. Fighting cancer is hard. Diagnosis, treatment, surgeries... they all suck. Surviving cancer is also hard. You'd like to think it's all "life is such a blessing" but it's not that easy. Sometimes I look around at my fellow survivors, my friends, and I wonder how they are kicking ass at life and I'm not. They are happy and energetic and getting fit and don't seem to worry every minute of every day about their health. They aren't wallowing in the effects of cancer treatment or filled with fear of an unknown future.
Sometimes it seems like I am the only one who struggles this much. I'm tired. Like, really tired. I have trouble sleeping at night, which means I'm exhausted all day. There is no such thing as a "cat nap" for me anymore. If I take a nap, I might as well put on my pjs and climb into bed, because it's LIGHTS OUT for hours, and it's so hard to wake up. I have to set two different alarms on my phone because one doesn't wake me up in the morning.
My self-esteem is non-existent. Even though I'm getting close to my 10,000 steps every day, I can't seem to find the time, energy or motivation to work out. I hate to say it, but my exercise bike has become the cliche clothes rack. I've never before weighed as much as I do now. It's depressing. I hate the way I look, I hate the way I feel, I hate the way my clothes fit (or don't fit... ha ha). But it seems like no matter how much or how little I eat, no matter how active I am, the scale just keeps creeping up. Thank you, cancer, and thank you, menopause, and thank you, Tamoxifen.
I feel really guilty complaining about any of this, because you know what? It could be worse.
For my BFF, it is worse. Yesterday she had her 2nd chemo treatment after her doctor switched her from oral chemo to the more powerful IV infusions. This is her THIRD go-round with cancer. In September she had clean scans. Now her breast cancer has come back, with a vengeance, despite having surgery, chemo and radiation 5 years ago.
F*** you, cancer.
This disease has touched a lot of people in my life, but this one hurts the most. It's a serious battle for her, and I'm so afraid. She may not have been born my sister, but she's the sister of my heart, and I can't imagine my world without her in it.
We all weather storms differently. Some people fight their battle and walk away like a boss. Some people get pulled under by it and struggle to find their way out. I think maybe I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't feel like I've mastered this cancer survivorship thing yet..... but I'm working on it. One day I'd like to thumb my nose at cancer, turn away and never look back. One day I'd like to live without fear. One day I'd like to know that this sneaky, mean, treacherous beast of a disease will not hurt me or anyone I love ever again.
Both of my grandmothers had cancer and died when I was young. I don't have any memories of them.
My mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer in 2010. My kids won't have many memories of her.
My dear friend passed away from ovarian cancer in 2014.
My BFF's mom passed away right after Christmas after her breast cancer returned.
My BFF had cervical cancer and is now fighting breast cancer for the 2nd time.
My sister-in-law had breast cancer.
In 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage III, BRCA 2+ breast cancer. The exact same diagnosis as my BFF.
In 2014 my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.
That's a lot of damn storms people I know have had to fight. Most days I enjoy my life. I work and shop and go out to eat. I nag my kids and husband, laugh with my friends and cheer my daughter's softball team on. I'm living a typical suburban mom life and I'm lucky to be living it with a man who loves me and two kids who light up my world.
But tonight I'm just angry. I thought maybe getting my thoughts out would help, but instead of being cathartic, it's just pissing me off more.