One of my Twitter messages from earlier today:
The last 4 months've taken a LOT outta me (cancer fears, allergies, deaths... ) They are therefore *banished* from the calendar. > RRRIP <
I realized today that, while the past two years HAVE found me cancer-free, the last 4 months have kept me in a state of constant fear of its return. And in that insidious little way, cancer really HAS been continuing to kick my ass. AND I LET IT. Damn. *insert cluebrick here* As I read over the SCCA and CancerLifeline sites earlier, I was struck that I seldom use those three little words that make lots of things change: I NEED HELP.
Me? Need help? No way. Never. I had cervical and uterine cancer; they tried to treat it, and it failed (2 colpos and 2 LEEPs). So they cut it out -- snip-snip -- and I recovered from the surgery. End of story. Right?
Um, no. I don't get to do it like that. Apparently, the fatigue, depression, and rise in other health issues (like my ass-kicking asthma w/its chronic bronchial cough, and eternal craving for sleep) are NORMAL for cancer survivors. Normal. Par for the course. Lots of other people face this stuff too. And there are several different types of resources for people who are uterus-less (such as myself) due to the big C. Cancer survivors are EXPECTED to need help beyond the 'cut-the-nasty-bits-out-and-throw-them-away' phase. But me? Nope. Somehow I forgot that last part. (I can hear my old friend Richard saying, "Gee Deb... welcome to the Human Race.")
So, in the upcoming weeks, I'm undertaking a few new things.... with the hope that their pursuit will help me.
And I will be.... *wait for it* asking for help. Yes. Me.
Because I cannot 'work and sleep and work and sleep and work and sleep' -- that is not a life. And I can't wall myself into my room with clothes and stuff, never really enjoying anything, and expect the depression and fatigue to just 'go away'. Apparently, it doesn't work like that.
Sure, I need my sleep, and need to listen to my body, but there are other things I need too. Like laughter. And the companionship of friends. And PLANNED 'goof-off' time. I need to surf mindlessly for hours, sometimes, and geek out with my tech toys. I need to stretch my muscles, and find joy in physical activities again. I need to go visit people, just because. I need to head off sometimes, and reconnect to myself (alone). And I need to give back, because I really am blessed.
I need fun, and snuggles, and smiles, and companionship. And I'm going to work with some of the resources I've recently found (to get out more, and do more stuff), so that I don't fall back in that nasty hole I've been in. I could use some encouragement, and if I decide to do something big (like, say, prepare for a triathalon, or swim in a swim meet), I want to know that people will come and cheer for me. I'd like to be brave and strong and stoic, and say that I would do it just for myself (and there is an element of that), but I'm not always that strong, and I do need encouragement sometimes.
So I put it out there. I said it 'out loud'. And we'll see what the coming year brings.
There's more that I want to write about this, and about cancer, but it hasn't completely bubbled to the surface yet. And I am remembering how to care for myself, and to respect my own process, and know that it will surface (whatever it is) in its own time.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading, and for all being exactly who you are.