You know that they never tell you about cancer? Post Traumatic Stress. Nobody even mentions it until you are knee deep into thinking you are losing your mind.
As a cancer patient I became a research warrior. Every symptom, every complication, every possibility. I know my prognosis, my options, when to email the doctor, and when to brush it off.
Then one day, you are sitting around, just writing and being with your kids and it hits you like a brick to the face.
I have worked so hard at moving beyond cancer, living my best life. Yet here I am today, not able to even engage. I am a blank shell of myself and I am hollow; except for the anger and rage.
If only it were truly anger and rage…
When I explore those feelings I am reminded that angry is just sad’s bodyguard. What I am feeling (or trying to not feel) is an overwhelming grief. A grief that swallows me completely.
Although the lessons, mercy, grace, and love I have felt for the last two years have been amazing; today I want to not have had any of it. Today I want to have not been through any of it.
Today I want it all to go away.
So just for today, I will explore my sadness, my loss…my resilience.
Five surgeries, a year of chemotherapy, so many trips to Mayo Clinic, heart damage, a spread of the original cancer…guess what Deb…you’re a rock star.
I’m writing this letter because I need you to know how amazing your truly are. I know that going through this was not easy. Nobody said life was easy…now you realize they weren’t kidding.
I need you to understand that your grief is normal and it’s okay to figure it out. Deb, you’ve been through Hell…truly…no crap.
You’ve begged God for another breath when you were certain death was only minutes away. Remember those days? Laying in bed…not sure if you had the strength to take another breath…but you did Deb, you kept going. I know you did it for your kids and your family; what really counts though is just the fact that you did it. Over and over again, you begged for just one more breath. Remember wondering if you should call 911 to come take you to the hospital but not sure if you’d be alive when they got there? REMEMBER?
Today I just need you to keep taking those breaths. Get through today Sweetie. I don’t care how, just get through it.
Sappy songs, violent movies, death scene pictures…whatever gets you through, take the next breath.
Pray Deb…in your heart, in your head, out loud. In your chair, your bed, on your knees, sitting with the boys…just pray.
Don’t be such a stubborn cuss…ask your friends to pray for you. They are right there…just waiting for the opportunity to help you. Remember, it was YOU that said, “If I need anything I’ll call, I promise.” You are such a terrible liar.
C’mon, how do you think your friends would feel if they knew you were so consumed with grief right now and alone.
Treat your headache…you know it’s coming…start treating it now before it overwhelms you. You don’t deserve to suffer the pain when you have medications at your disposal. You’ve been through enough. Don’t make yourself suffer when you don’t have to.
Hey Me, you’re doing awesome. Trust me.
God loves you more than anything.
Your family loves you.
Your friends love you.
I love you.
Just keep swimming.