I guess I have to find my new normal . . .

30 Jul

I read an article today called “Back to Normal

It was about strategies to help patients adjust to life after cancer treatment. The article referred to the period of time after treatment as the “re-entry” period and how patients unexpectedly struggle after completing cancer treatment and have a difficult time getting back to normal.

The article referred to a cancer survivor, Jen Singer who was successful in her battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Singer said, “I was in fight mode. Now I’m in I-hope-it-doesn’t-come-back mode. I’m a doer. It’s easier for me to fight than it is for me to hold my breath.”

I can relate to that some. Although, I can say, happily, that I am not consumed with thoughts of having a cancer recurrence. Not after what my oncologist told me . . . that I am cured. However, I can most definitely relate to the I was in fight mode and now I am just somewhere else . . . kind of a limbo mode, I guess. I still have this next surgery to get through and I know how much pain it causes and that frightens me to think about – about having to go through it again – about having to put my family and friends through it again and wondering how it will affect new friendships.

So I am feeling kind of weird these days.

On the one hand, I am thrilled to be where I am. But, at the same time, I am devastated to be where I am (devastated only sometimes). Today was kind of one of those days. I was cleaning my house . . . did some laundry, dishes, etc. . . . you know, the normal stuff. But, so exhausted from it. My right arm – completely numb. The more work I did, the more the numbness traveled and the more I wondered whether I should stop what I was doing and just rest.

But, I am sick of resting and sick of needing so much help. It seems ridiculous, really.

I have been doing pretty well lately. But, the past couple of weeks have been more hectic than usual and it has definitely taken a toll on me. I feel overwhelmed and tired and . . . I hate to admit it, but, physically weak.

I guess what amazes me is how suddenly I can be hit with the full weight of it, as if I haven’t made the progress that I have made . . . it is a bit much. And, since I don’t look sick, people around me are often unaware of how weak or tired I am feeling, how I desperately need to just lie down. I hate that feeling and so I have been pushing through that feeling whenever possible these past few weeks. But, it has caught up with me.

Today I was tired and just overwhelmed by everything I think.

Maybe it was trying to find clothes to wear for the gig tomorrow night . . . trying to find something to wear that will not draw attention to the disparity between my left and right breast. It seems so petty to be bothered by it, but, I am really, really bothered by it now . . . by the disfigurement of my body and by the physical limitations that I still experience. But, maybe that is a sign that I truly am doing well . . . because I am for the first time a little angry about it. And, sad.

I got stuck in a dress today . . . yep, was able to put it on, but, not able to get it off . . . not without quite a bit of doing, that is. This living alone thing is a pain in the rear. I just couldn’t get it off, it is hard to explain, but, I was simply trapped in it. This happens sometimes, and, it is hard to tell which dress or article of clothing is going to be impossible to get off until I simply put it on and discover this. I don’t know why it is so annoying to me when this happens, but, it just is.

Maybe it is because it reminds me of everything. I don’t know. I just want to hop back onto that merry-go-round of a life again.  And, in many respects, I have done just that. BUT, it has a cost . . . it is like I am withdrawing energy from a bank and there aren’t any deposits being made . . . or at least not quickly enough.

I am looking forward to playing the bass tomorrow night. But, I know that I will be completely drained by it. And, that is something I really hope will not always be the case. I am a bit worried about playing tomorrow night, actually. I am worried because it is different now with my latissimus muscle no longer in my back . . . it is somewhat painful and it takes more energy somehow to play.

But, I know that with time it will get better. I am determined to play the bass better than ever, that is my goal. It seems to be one of the easier things for me to handle mentally – I just need to get past the physical stuff.

Say some prayers that I am able to keep up tomorrow. I guess I should be sleeping right now, that would be a big help. 🙂

Love and peace,


One Response to “I guess I have to find my new normal . . .”

  1. Sandy July 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM #

    Here’s one perspective on what you’re going through: it’s a dress rehearsal for old age. You may never be infirm with age, and may never need this kind of help again in your life. But if you do, you’ve had some practice. You’ll be ready. I hope that’s helpful.

    Have a great time tonight! I wish I could be there, but I have another commitment. :/


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