Monday, June 4, 2012

" i watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream. of warm impermanence and so the days float through my eyes, but still the days seem the same....time may change me, but you can't trace time. ..turn and face the stranger, oh look out you rock and rollers! pretty soon you're gonna get a little time may change me, but i can't trace time. " changes, by david bowie

unless you have had cancer, you can not possibly know how it is to face a major life changing experience and then somehow go on with your "new normal" like nothing has happened! you get this terrible diagnosis, try to gather all of the information about your condition as you can, consult with (hopefully) knowledgeable health professionals, and then come up with your plan of action. if you are lucky, things go well( like you had planned) and then you get to go back to your "normal" life. the problem with this idea  being that no matter how hard you and everybody else may try, you will never be able to return to your old life, your old normal being a thing of the past.

for one thing, your body changes. you have a scar on your neck now. at first my scar made me look  like i had auditioned for, and won, the part of the bride of Frankenstein. i made small children cry and run to find their parents. now, you can not tell that  i have a scar, most of the time- unless i swallow or turn my neck  a certain way. i have vitamin e oil to thank for that.oh, and a good surgeon. i should mention him, i guess.  i lost quite a bit of hair after my treatment dose of the I-131. don't you just hate it when your hair dresser mentions this fact? well, duh, i kind of know i am losing my hair, thanks for pointing it out! it did grow back though, and even came back a bit curly, as they promised in the cancer handbook.

and then, there is that low, to no energy part. that has been the worst for me. adjusting my thyroid replacement dose has been quite a feat. i am not there yet. i thought that i was, but my tell-tale heart gave me away. in other words, my endocrinologist heard my heart skipping a beat during my last exam, and decided to lower my dose. now i have an uncontrollable attraction to my bed- lets just say i am metal and my bed, a magnet. long work weeks wipe me out, and it takes me a day or so to recover. i know that i am getting older,too, geez. but i should be able to do more. push myself a little more. now my body says," no way, no how, that is it! had enough. " in other words, nap time.

it is difficult to explain all the crazy mix of feelings that you have when you get a cancer diagnosis. fear, anger, worry, frustration,anxiety,helplessness,etc. what do you do now? how will it affect your family and loved ones? what if the damn stuff comes back? how do you put this out of your mind and live your life,even though it is your life, but it is not. it is your new normal and somehow you must learn to cope with all the changes.

i am still working on the answers to these, and many more, questions. i am thankful to be cancer free for two years, and i am thankful for every good test that i get back, even if testing makes me anxious. i am just taking one day at a time, and trying not to be too hard on myself. it is all just part of my new normal, i guess.

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