As much as I love to socialize, I’ve been craving solitude more and more. I have limited energy. In some ways it makes me sad because I do love to talk, but my naturally expressive personality now wears me out. What many people don’t realize is cancer ages the mind, body and spirit.
My mind has been in utter chaos as I’ve tried to process my cancer experience. I wish I could forget the ugly parts of my cancer path. The thoughts and grief refuse to be swept under the rug. They continue to bubble and boil to the surface.
I still can’t fully verbalize all I’ve experienced and continue to experience. That’s why I write and started blogging. All I can do is continue to raise my voice and shed light on the difficulties of a cancer diagnosis. The fear, anxiety and anger never fully disappear. It sometimes moves to the backburner, but never gone.
I had become dependent on Ativan for sleep. My psychiatrist at the time kept enabling me. It took me two years to recognize that fact. Instead of helping me process, she was trying to keep in a sedated frame of mind. I finally saw the light this year and terminated the sessions and weaned myself off the Ativan. It was difficult and definitely caused additional stress to my immune system.
After I finished chemo in February 2016, I was shocked by how old I looked. Dark circles like a panda, pale gray skin and lines like a turkey around my neck. Heck, even my hands looked old. My baby face was gone. What I noticed most was the look in my eyes.
They looked haunted.
They looked pained.
They looked scared.
I still don’t recognize this body. So much has physically changed. The chronic pain wears on my patience. I can’t just get up and go, go, go like I could in the past. Every move is slow and deliberate. I don’t want to fall. I have a permanent handicap sign thanks to neuropathy.
My spirit has also taken a beating. I don’t ask why I got cancer. It was inevitable, especially after looking at my family history. I ask more why did I get cancer under 40 and am still alive? I see others whose cancer has metastasized with significant others and families. Why have I been spared — the single cat lady — and not them?
Life post-cancer continues to be a daily struggle. There always seems to be a new pain or issue or unforeseen medical bill popping up.
I crave stability.
I crave my truth.
So, I wrote a poem that was originally crafted using a writing prompt from the Unspoken Ink Writing Class through Lacuna Loft. I finished it this morning.
Until next time,
This post originally appeared on Life on the Cancer Train. It is republished with permission.