What’s harder – being the patient or the caregiver?

My 5 year old daughter is sick today – fever and a tummy ache.  As a mother, I just want to hold her and make her feel all better. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for my mother when I was diagnosed with cancer and going through my treatments.  I couldn’t let myself imagine that at the time, because I needed to focus on myself and getting better.  Now, I’m realizing that it must have been just as hard, if not harder, for her – and everyone else who cared about me – than it was for me.  I know that when my partner was going through treatment for thyroid cancer, which included three surgeries and being quarantined in the hospital for radioactive iodine treatment, it was hell.  I was worried about her and her physical and emotional well-being, and worried about our kids, and determined to put on a brave face so none of them knew how terrrified I really was.  It was draining and difficult.  I think, for me at least, it’s easier being the patient.  Even though my own health was at risk and it was a nightmare to go through, it was easier than watching someone I love suffer and having no control over the outcome.  So, today I’m saying a prayer to thank God for all of my wonderful caregivers and all the caregivers in the world – and a special prayer that my daughters will never have to suffer with anything more serious than a fever and a tummy ache.

The Rollercoaster of Recovery

Like probably most people, I figured after my treatment was over and the cancer wiped out, all my problems would be solved and life would be awesome again. In reality, sometimes I feel that way now, and sometimes I still feel like crap. I’ve discovered that recovering from cancer is like a rollercoaster ride – full of ups and downs, moments of joy and moments of terror, and a sneaking feeling that, at any given time on this ride, it could all come crashing down in disaster. Notice, I say recovering from cancer, because although this October will mark my 2 year anniversary of being cancer-free, I have not yet fully recovered, physically or emotionally. There are times when I think, damn, I should be recovered by now, or that I feel guilty because I’m not feeling totally grateful or 100% amazing – I mean, what could there possibly be not to feel wonderful about? Thankfully, most of the time I do feel pretty good – but then sometimes I catch a glimpse of the discoloration on my arms that the chemo left or I hear for the hundredth time from an unknowing stranger how I look nothing like my old driver’s license picture when I had long, past my shoulders hair – and the good feeling gets a little reality check. Yes, there are still scary times ahead for me. Times when I get an unexpected call from my Oncologist that sends me into a mini-panic or when I have to convince myself that the random pain that just popped up isn’t really the cancer growing back. But, fortunately, there are also times of joy ahead for me. Like seeing my youngest daughter start Kindergarten and my oldest run for student council, or my sweetheart and I getting closer to our 20 year anniversary. So, on this rollercoaster that I am grateful to be on, I’ve decided to let go of the bars, throw my hands up in the air, and just enjoy the ride.

words of wisdom…

Instead of counting your days, make your days count – Author Unknown

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Daily Digest: Thursday, September 19, 2013

So, I haven’t written anything in a while.  Not because I haven’t had anything to say or because I’ve had writer’s block (well, maybe I’ve been a little blocked) but I got so burned out a few months ago on doctor’s appointments and all the time I was spending in waiting rooms, doing bloodwork and tests and taking time off from work to do all these things – I just wanted to be “normal” again.  I have some follow up appointments I haven’t followed up on and a new treatment that I should have started by now, but I just needed to take a little break.  I’m not putting my health in jeopardy, don’t worry, I just needed some down time to build myself back up again.  But, it’s time now to get back to reality, or my “new normal”, and schedule those appointments and sit in waiting rooms again and start writing again.  Have a great day, everyone.