Sunday, July 31, 2011


I wish I could go back to the life I had before January 8 2011.

It was the morning after my daughter's birthday party and Brad and I had just woken up and were still laying in bed lingering.

I was happy. Truly happy, no care in the world.

And then, the lump.

Since then, there have been so many emotions, but fear has been a constant companion through all. And now, that I'm almost at the end of the treatment road, I am expected to be joyful and excited and to start picking up where I left off.

But I can't.

I am joyful and grateful and excited that it's done, but since nobody can really tell you whether the treatment worked or not, I am also fearful.

In my oncologists' words: 'when you die of something else, we know you'll have beaten cancer'.

Comforting, isn't it?

My 9 year old asked me the other day if I'll be teaching her to drive when she's 16, and I broke down into tears. Not that I want to teach her, mind you, but I'd like to be the one who writes the check to the 'Young Driver's' program' for her.

It is my new 'normal' I suppose, living each moment with equal parts gratitude, for experiencing it and really soaking it in now, and fear, that it may be over too soon.

It's been 6 months and fear is my constant companion. It accompanies me in my private moments too, when I sleep, when I dream, when I'm alone, even when I shower.

It is always with me.

I'd like to say that I got used to it, and I guess I have, but it sucks.

I wish I could go to that 'carefree' feeling of before. I've talked to other gals who've gone through it, and it's unanimous.

You cannot go back to 'carefree' once you've had cancer.



VV said...

In some ways you can never go back, but you always have the choice of how to deal with things. After growing up with abuse, molestation and later rape, I lived in constant fear for years that I would never be normal, that I could never have the human attachments that others had because I was so scarred, that I could never truly trust a man again. I literally lived with that daily for years. I learned otherwise and let the fear go. I also grew up with a mentally unwell mother who lived through her own childhood and adult abuse. I never had the type of mother I always wanted. There was no loving hugs or kisses, no "I love you"s, no stability or kindness. I lived in fear that I would never have kids, or if I did, I would abuse them. I finally let go of that fear when my daughter was about two. Fear can be healthy and productive if you use it constructively. I let my first fear consume me until the walls fell. The second fear I overcame by reading every parenting book I could get my hands on and by connecting with awesome mothers in my community to mentor me. You have this fear, this reminder it could all happen again. You could die at any moment. We all could die at any moment. None of us know how long we will be here. Do you let the fear consume you, zap the happiness out of beautiful moments, or let it be a reminder to cherish every day, live every day to the fullest and take care of your health with regular checkups to fight the odds? You know what to do. Grab that fear and make it work for you. Don't let it take from you. said...

Yes fear can do us all some good. Like VV said we can do it constructively and it will be good for us.. I cant say it any better than VV did. There are no more words I can add really.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

VV - Wow, your comment made me shed tears. I had no idea your life had so many layers to it. I was sad to read it, but thank you for sharing it. I agree... it is what you do with the fear that matters. Let's hope I use it constructively.

Tweets - thanks as well. Appreciate it.

VV said...

We all have layers, crosses to bear. I don't know where my optimism and stoicism come from, but since overcoming the worst of my childhood, I've gotten through any problem by reminding myself, there is nothing new under the sun, others have dealt with this successfully in the past, and there will always be someone else out there whose life is worse than mine, so I should be thankful and just focus on dealing with what's on my plate. Feel free to call if you need a shoulder or a pep talk.

Melissa said...

I think it's about distinction for us. The distinction between fearing it might happen again, and being aware it might happen again. The first time it happened we weren't scared of it happening because we didn't think it would at such a young age. IF (and that's a big, giant "IF") it were to happen again, we shouldn't fear it, because we've been down that road, and we already know what to do. And I'd do it again and again. We have too much to live for in this life, to fear what might happen. We could step off the curb and get hit by a bus, but that doesn't stop us from crossing the street. Knowing that something is possible, knowing that we could have a recurrence, shouldn't stop us from living our lives. Move from fear to awareness and empowerment. We've beat it once, and gosh darn it - we can do it again. =)

Sayre said...

Your friends who are or have been in your shoes know more of this than I do... fear comes in all forms. Sometimes it's fear of something that might happen. Sometimes it is that something will never happen. For me, I never thought I'd have a baby. I had five miscarriages and I figured that was pretty much it. I let go of it and years later, when the time was right, I got pregnant and had a perfectly normal pregnancy and baby. No one was more shocked than me.

Letting go and getting on with your life is the way to go. Be aware and take care of yourself, but LIVE!

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

VV - true. I say that to my kids all the time, there is always someone worse off than us, no matter what we are going through.

Melissa - You're right. And I feel that way too. It's just, I wish I could go back. I know you understand what I'm talking about, we can not go back to that feeling from before but I've grown so much in this last year that I'm in a better place than before.

Sayre - I know. I am enjoying every minute of my life now, where before I was unaware of such details because I was constantly thinking of the next thing on my 'list'. I did everything I could, now I gotta let it be and go live my life. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Hey warrior girl!
My father used to say "whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger".
You are stronger than you realize, resourceful and have a life full of love. Enjoy today. Tomorrow will come soon enough.
I think we are all fearful to some degree (whether we have had cancer or not) VV could not have explained it better! Your mind is a powerful tool, keep postive thoughts and try to stay in the present. ;-)

Mandi said...

I described this to my husband a couple of days ago as feeling like I am in a mild state of panic every day. Some days are more than "mild" some days less. As I find myself a bit busier lately I have less time to think about everything consciously, but it is always there.

Anonymous said...

VV did say it well. I hope that in your new normal, the gratitude and joy of living each moment continue to grow and the fear diminishes.

Kathy said...

I hear you on the fear. I was really ill with pancreatitis for a couple years. Originally the doctors suspected metastasized pancreatic cancer. I lived in fear all the time. My first emotion upon waking every day was stone cold fear. The fear was almost worse than the illness. Some Christians say that fear is a sin. I didn't find that helpful as I seemed powerless to shed it. I was however comforted by the Psalms passage that says "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you". (Psalm 56:3) For me, fear and faith lived side by side.

Wishing and praying for peace and health for you.

Conquering Cancer By Living Well said...

It's scary. But if you allow fear to take over, you're not living your life, and slowly letting the cancer take your emotional life. To me, that's as bad as for it to be taking your physical life. I've read a really good book recently - I will lend it to you when I see you. Written by an oncologist/surgeon, Bernie Siegel. I bet you that once you finish it, you will view this completely differently. You will still have fear - but it won't own you. Never, ever let it own you.

Unknown said...

Hi Michelle.
I've been away for a little bit. It's okay to be afraid and to feel that fear. You don't have to like it at all and naturally you wish it wasn't your constant companion.

Sometimes life and the things it throws at it just sucks.

There are always going to be people with worse things or people who can and do deal with issues in ways different to us but your fear is real and it needs to be validated. Then maybe one day just give it a good kick in the rear..just for that day! I wish I could trade places hon..really..or..take your place I guess. I'm back home in a few weeks and will check with you on your radiation schedule and come meet for something soothing to drink. Sending love. xx

Anonymous said...

Damn is right. You nailed it, girl. Not only is the recurrence fear always there, but I also fear that I won't figure out how to get back to "normal"--whatever normal is after cancer. After missing some big events in my kids' life last summer, I'm scared that a recurrence will cause me to miss other, important stuff with them.

kevin said...

It is so nice to hear your strength, as a family who is going through this awful disease right now we love to hear how good you are doing. I am sorry that we have lost touch over the years and we should make all attempts to get together. I know in my heart that you have beat the cancer. You have everything going for you now Brad sounds great Robyn and I would love to meet him. I will try to get to the fund raiser for you for sure please let us know asap so I can plan sitters and such