I walk around and I carry a big, huge, scary secret inside me.
I feel crippled daily.
I feel crippled by fear, by worry, by anxiety, and by death.
You can’t see it.
I look healthy, albeit tired.
People think I’m doing well.
My cancer, diagnosed, treated and gone, 6 years ago now, is a thing of the past for so many.
But for me? It is ever present.
As I fold laundry, I wonder if the cancer is back.
As I vacuum the living room, I wonder if another friend will receive bad news.
As I read books to my children that contain sad scenes, I cry more than I should, because I’m crying not just for the character in my book, but for my child who has to also bear some of the burden of cancer.
It is ever present.
Every time a doctor sends me for a test, just in case, I can’t sleep.
Every time they need a new scan, I become a ball of worry.
Every time they give me a clean bill of health, I worry they’ve missed something.
It’s all fraught with something for me to fret over.
There is an omnipresent weight upon my chest.
At times it feels as if it physically there.
I gasp for air.
I can’t breathe.
I gasp for more air.
Deep breaths, my brain tells my lungs.
We can breathe.
There is not actual weight there.
I can breathe just fine.
I know this, in my brain, to be true.
But my heart? My heart is screaming.
Nope, I can’t breathe.
I’ve lost another friend.
Another friend’s cancer has spread.
The doctor wants me to get another test.
I’ve got a check-up coming up.
There’s a new lump on my body.
I am not fine.
I am not okay.
I. Can. Not. Breathe.
And frankly brain? You and your facts can go take a long hike.
This dichotomy of my brain and my heart.
This craziness of being both fine and not fine.
This roller coaster of being positive the cancer is back and knowing it is not.
This life of making new great friendships and grieving friends who have passed on.
It takes a toll.
I feel crippled.
It seems too much to deal with it. Too much to face.
And yet, slowly – painfully slowly – I try to face it.
I write. I talk. I take walks. I meditate. I give myself pep talks. I celebrate the small accomplishments.
This is the life after cancer I wasn’t prepared for.
This is the life after cancer they never show in the movies.
This is the life after cancer the fiction books never get around too.
This is the life after cancer that I face.
Every single day.
Like the waves on the beach.
It’s always there.
Some days, thankfully, it’s small waves. It’s beautiful waves. The kind you stare it in amazement.
Some days, it’s stormy waves. It’s high waves. Advisories are issued. Stay away from the beach. The waves are dangerous today. They are strong. They are a force to be reckoned with.
And yet, time it marches on.
And I must march on it with it.
But I march.
This is life.
This is my life.
I try to embrace it.
I’m doing the best I can.
And that is enough.
I will tell myself that is enough.
Over and over and over.
Until I believe it.
I’m a stay at home mom of 3 awesome kids – 2 girls and a boy. I am married to the most wonderful man alive. And I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people I’m beyond blessed. I love to make things. But now I have to fit in making between kicking cancer’s @$$, being mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. But I know I’ll get through this – with lots of hugs, laughter, support and some knitting on the side! You can follow me on my blog, Journey of a 1,000 Stitches.
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