As I try to walk through my old patterns of life. To step back into normal life. What is normal anyway? Allow me to be transparent for a moment. At times I feel like an outsider from my own body, looking at myself from a stranger’s perspective. I don’t know or recognize this person anymore. Rather than a woman, I relate more to a jigsaw puzzle. Specifically, I’m the puzzle with that one frustrating missing piece, like when you approach the end of a 1000 piece masterpiece only to find you only have 999 pieces. The incompleteness nags at you after all your hard work.

Best-laid plans?

Starting out on this journey I determined not to let cancer change me. And I prayed that God forbid, if it did, it would be for the better. Jeremiah 29:11 right? God says, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE.” But right now I’m not in a smooth transition. For example, it is much harder to wake up every morning. I require more sleep but I have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. I fight the urge to drink coffee all day long. Most days I lose that battle. Another example is several of my finger and toenails growing back as ingrown nails. Pain! Never experienced that before…what’s up with that? Friends, do not take your nails for granted. Also, an ugly chemo port protrudes from my chest, making me feel like Quasimodo as it pulls and pokes. My fracture doesn’t hurt anymore so with my orthopedic’s approval I have been able to carefully run short distances. Unfortunately I banged my knee hard against my bike trainer and bruised the bone so it is hurting so bad I cannot run. The orthopedic went ahead and gave it an x-ray just to be sure that it’s not fractured. I have to laugh at my own stupidity or I might cry at this irony. I return to the cancer center every 3rd week for an infusion, a reminder that cancer isn’t completely in my rear view mirror. Right now my breasts consist of “temporary expanders” filled with saline. They are sutured down to my rib cage and cause sensitive nerve endings to fire up at times. I wonder if my transfer surgery in the fall will fail due to infection? The sensitive combination of radiated tissue and silicone implants cause many patients to have them taken out and start all over again. In the meantime I have lumpy unfinished breasts. It’s all maddening. At times I feel like screaming. Yes, the struggle is real.

I try to be strong but I’m so tired. I’m not as patient as I used to be. Will my family ever see the end to this mad cow disease? I’m searching for a new coping strategy. People ask how I’m doing. You got all day to talk about it? I’m scared to truly express myself for fear of the possible conclusions. In regards to my strength, will I find that I am too weak to ever compete at the level I used to? I am beginning again to push myself in my workouts and finding that I’m not as strong and I’m not recovering as well as I used to. Do I even have a competitive spirit anymore? Most importantly, I’m scared the cancer will come back. There. I said it.

With a tendency to simply “soldier on,” I push my thoughts away, stuffing my feelings down. But then I feel worse. Inevitably small problems arise which feel 10 times worse than they should and I accidentally blast my problems at my family. My poor unsuspecting husband didn’t take a course called “What to do When Wife Goes through Cancer, 101”. It’s not fair to him that he has been exploded upon countless times.

I hesitate to vocalize these problems knowing that some might try to swoop in with their well intentions and attempt to deliver a magic formula. Please don’t try and fix me.

In many ways it was easier for me when I was still going through regular treatments. I could warrior through it. Veni vidi vici is no longer my anthem. This isn’t quick or easy. I am unfinished. I just have to be patient and learn to sit with this awhile.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dan Cox says:

    Dear Brenda,

    I believe I overall understand. I’ve had lots of health issues. Of course, I can never truly understand, as your problems are more severe than mine. And, everyone’s journey is different.

    What I do want to tell you is I love you “regardless”.
    …regardless of any frustrations, anger, swearing, etc. that you express.
    …regardless of your times of lack of faith (which is still so much greater than mine).

    And, I want to tell you that I am not here to fix you. Hopefully, you’ve felt that all along. I’m just here to understand, love and support. I, like you, get tired of the people who try and fix us. . . the people who have a magic cure and say, “if you will only do this (whatever “this” is), and you’ll be better.” Baloney.

    Just let me know if you need me to bop them on the head! LOL

    Love, Dad

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ann Richardson says:

    You have expressed it well. People think it is over when it is not over. I am one who had infection and lost my expanders. Starting over makes for more ugly because of scar tissue. The meds I now take are straight from Satan! So what I am saying is that you are not alone. This crap is real and you just don’t know until you live it. Thank you for being real. It helps me right now which is a way you just served. I am afraid of recurrence too. Look forward to seeing you next week! Love you beautiful friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Susie Zils says:

    Brenda!! Love you so, my friend. ❤️I have enjoyed reading your blog, but especially this one. What an excellent piece and I am glad you are able to write it down and share your negative feelings/experiences with us. I admire the enthusiasm and love that comes through each time I read your blog. I love that you are always so positive and ready to move forward through this journey that you are on right now. But, I am also very glad to have you share your frustration and dread about this horrible, horrible, horrible thing that has happened to you. It’s important to keep your spirits positive to aid in your healing and cure, but so is naming the devil! Sometimes you’ve just got to say it out loud! You are entitled to this, as the fighter!❤️ 💪💪💪Susie

    P.S. Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your servant Brenda, and give your power of healing to those that minister to her needs, that she may be strengthened in her weakness and have confidence in your loving care. Specifically, Lord, would you give healing and strength to her bones and nails? She is so tired and weary; so some healing sleep would be a great blessing. Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to Brenda the help of your power, that her sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. socceryogi says:

    Please remind yourself on the bad days that they will pass. That realization is one truth that I have to constantly remind myself. The false sense of security, control, and normal is so deceiving and thus those bad days feel so unsettling.

    You have been such an inspiration. You have broken the mold on how to do cancer with grace, faith, and grit. I have learned so much from you, Grasshopper, and have tried to incorporate those lessons into my own cancer story.

    You will bounce back better. That’s what you do. That’s you.

    Liked by 1 person

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