There is No such thing as going back to the “normal” life you had before cancer once treatment ends.
It’s true…. And before you start telling me about your mom, dad, sister brother, friend, and everyone else you know who has completed treatment and had absolutely no problem jumping right back in where life stopped the day of diagnosis, I will ask you this, Are you sure? Have you asked them if it’s been hard? Have you seen them? called? texted? engaged with them at all the way you used to before diagnosis? If you have and your people are good, then awesome. Nice job staying connected. If you haven’t, that’s okay too. You didn’t know this was even a thing. For god’s sake, your loved one most likely did not know this was a thing and thought they would pick up right where they left off.
Let me share a little secret with you, just because the now cancer-free person has gotten out of bed, showered (maybe ) went to work, drove carpool, made dinner and all the other things life demands they do, does not mean they are okay!!
All it means is they are doing all these things that are expected of them because that is what they did before cancer. Only now they are doing it with the thoughts, whose life is this, how did I get here, and someone stop the ride so I can get off….. All while wondering how many more excruciating minutes have to pass before they can get back into bed.
For anyone who has gone through and completed treatment for cancer you most likely know exactly what I am talking about and are nodding your head in agreement as you read this. And I have no doubt what I am about to share will resonate as well.
March 5, 2018, after six of the hardest months of my life, I had completed twelve treatments. I was cancer free and expected to go home and get back to living my life…
Where I sat on my couch for the next two years having no clue why I was so unhappy. Where was the joy and elation having beat cancer? Everything felt so damn hard. There was the expectation that I would jump feet first right back into the life that had been stopped in its tracks by cancer.
No one and I mean not one person told me that Life After Cancer would be hard. That I would never be the same pre cancer me. I would never have the same pre cancer life. Had there been any conversation around the realities of Life after cancer I may not have had to struggle for two years in relative silence. I thought there was something wrong with me. I lived in constant fear of recurrence. I was 60 pounds heavier than when I started treatment. I had a myriad of side effects from the drugs pumped through my veins twelve times over six months. My joints hurt. My hair was thin. My muscles were basically nonexistence, and I was drowning in the deepest river of misery I had ever known, and it seemed I had forgotten how to swim.
Until I remembered… and then I swam as hard as I could to the amazingness called my NEW POST CANCER life that was waiting for me… but first I had to learn these lessons that I would like to share with you
It is okay to not be okay and then one day it is also okay to be more than okay.
My body will never be the same. Now my body is even better. Stronger.
My life will never be what it was before cancer.
It is BETTER now than it was before. And believe me it was pretty damn great before
But the most important lessons I’ve learned are….
- I was not alone. I only thought I was because no one talks about the shit show that is life after cancer. No one said, hey… it might be hard for a while. You might hurt and be sad. But it can and will get better.
- I just had to want it badly enough to swim through the hard to get to the good
- I had to be willing to say just because it sucks now doesn’t mean it always will
- I had to be willing to believe it could be better
- I had to believe even if I didn’t know how to feel better right that minute I had all the willingness to figure it out
- It all came down to this, I had to believe that I could actually, one day, feel better.
- So I believed I would have the most amazing life after cancer… and I do !!