The Sad Realities (And Soaring Highs) of Living with Cancer

Some days I ask, “why me?” and at other times I am thankful for the extraordinary life that I have led thus far. 

The disease, the meds, and my thoughts combine to drive my emotions into spirals. The lows are really low, and the highs are more like “hey I’m alive and feeling good today!” My thoughts vacillate from “I can beat this thing and new drugs and cures are on the horizon” to “how much quality of time do I have?” 

Do I pray for a miracle? Damn right I do! My role – nay – my job is to eat healthy, exercise in the ways that I can (treadmill, walks outdoors and swimming) and rely on my doctors and meds to keep me going. 

I had struggled with physical pain for about 4 years, progressively getting worse. Because I’d had a stroke in 2002 while pregnant (from which I recovered) I was told I suffered from depression. So, unfortunately as we looked for cause, I was pointed in the wrong direction – mental health! As of October 5th,2018, I now know differently! 

And so, my new norm is waking up each day to assess how do I feel. Any pain? Yes! Where and how bad? How restful was my sleep? How will today go? What positive impact is the medicine having? Are we shrinking tumors or killing any of them? The monthly injections I receive to keep me post-menopausal and for bone strengthening are hell. I’m guaranteed 2-3 days of pain, hot flashes and clinically imposed depression for a week or so. Four weeks later I know I have to face this music once again. 

It’s a bitch but what are my options? I plan to live as long as I can, and I want to be around for my beautiful family. I control what I can, but much of each day is out of my control. I feel good after a walk or a friend’s visit but then my back aches terribly and I know I’ve overdone it again! 

I try not to read internet cancer discussion groups, but I do. They make me sad, angry and exhausted but I access them again another day. I can’t help it, despite knowing there is minimal good news there but there is comradery in our shared plights!  And then I rebound! I’m upbeat because at least now I know what ails me! Having been unable to diagnose why I hurt the way I did was driving me nuts and I had sadly settled on a new norm for my life. Cancer has given me a different new norm, which while not what I wanted to hear, provided some relief of at least knowing what was wrong with me! 

Now I’m in the fight of my life and I will fight with all my strength. I am not a quitter! I am Strong, I am Grateful, and I am Loved!

About The Author

A few months ago, I was told that my boobs are trying to kill me and being misdiagnosed for two years allowed them to recruit throughout the rest of my body by way of my spine. Before this, I knew f*ck all about cancer. Now, between sipping chemo cocktails, I want to talk about the truth of living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer with my support system and people I have met along the way to recovery.

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