I’ve been quite distant and MIA the past few weeks, especially in regards to writing. I have been so angry by how a situation was handled at work by the higher ups, that I didn’t even realize that as I stewed and fumed with anger, that it was actually my way of grieving and PTSD rearing her ugly head.
It has officially been a year since I “resigned” from what I thought was the dream job and dream money. I thought I had healed and moved past all the events leading up to that moment, but now clearly see I am still flooded with grief and PTSD. The whole situation was completely out of my control.
Cancer stole my so-called professional career and financial security.
I’ve repressed much of what has happened in my life since entering the post cancer club, especially after the hysterectomy/oophorectomy. My body wasn’t ready for that kind of major surgery only eight months after my final breast cancer treatment/surgeries. My body had already been through so much physically. Then add all the experimenting with Tamoxifen, Evista and Lupron injections in the hopes one would work without having to undergo another life changing surgery. It all equates to a perfect storm of overwhelming and painful grief and the distress of PTSD.
I can’t seem to grasp that I truly am IN medically induced menopause. I also can’t seem to grasp how that tiny pill Arimidex could cause so much harm that I could barely function during the bulk of 2017. I couldn’t comprehend any information. It caused horrific bone pain, like chemo. I had developed large black bruises on my left leg (cancer side). My face started breaking out like a 14 year old thanks to the drastic drop in estrogen. My skin became so dry. I developed these deep lines that look like layered necklaces around my neck.
How does one handle the complete physical loss of self? Will I ever stop grieving for ME? Will I ever stop wanting my pre-cancer straight hair? Will I ever stop wanting to feel like I had more time and choices with my treatments? My cancer treatments literally caused me to lose my mind, my strength, my body parts, my confidence, my job and my financial cushion. I had NO control over any of it.
Yes, I have found my writing voice again.
Yes, I’m involved in the young adult cancer community locally and nationally.
Yes, I’ve found an awesome church home, lectoring and singing in the choir after years away.
Yes, I have made fantastic new friendships and rekindled old friendships.
Yes, I’m still alive…
It’s fabulous and amazing, but it came at such a huge cost. I’m incapable of “pretending” to tolerate bullshit and ignorance, especially in the workplace. My anxiety and stress has reached a new level of intensity.
Cancer took away many choices professionally and so much time that I will never get back.
The amount of inner strength it takes to push through the fatigue, the grief, the PTSD, the anxiety, the depression and the daily pain to work full time just for the insurance and ultimately “survive” weighs heavily on me.
The fear of recurrence and what all these emotions and stressful environmental situations are doing to my body makes me feel like I am being tossed around in a rabbit hole.
Damn you, grief and PTSD.
Damn you, breast cancer.
Until next time,
9 thoughts on “Her name is grief and PTSD”
Wow!!! Your post just described my life almost to a tee. Gave me goosebumps 😳. I didn’t get to resign from my dream job and financial cushion as I was forced out with zero notice after being denied ADA accommodations. We’re still battling after 7 months because I refused to resign even with the threat of termination and lost health insurance. It really sucks!!
I understand the changed body image and daily pain all too well. I’m post menopausal but the lasting effects from chemo suck and remind me daily that I am no longer who I was pre-cancer. I have made a new plan for myself and it is going fine but I’m so damn tired, and probably still really angry at all cancer cost me too.
Thanks for getting back to your writing. I enjoy reading your posts.
We are not alone.
Blessings to you.
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Hi Laura! Sometimes I hate sounding so gloomy, but no one would know all that I (we) go through on a daily basis because my personality is very bubbly and positive in-person. I’m determined to somehow change and/or create a law (s) that protect cancer patients and jobs. I’ve heard these same comments from too many. As if we don’t have enough stress just existing!
Thank you so much for the lovely comment. We are NOT alone, even though it can feel that way at times. Sending you a HUG!
Many blessings to you, fellow warrior!
And I’m grateful for people like you who can truly speak to our grief and our experiences. People need to understand.
Hugs fellow warrior!
I completely agree! I’m determined to shed light and show not everything is glossy and pink or whatever color cancer ribbon. It’s hard and traumatic at times. Hugs to you, fellow warrior! You’re not alone!
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It really does suck and coming to terms that my life will never be like it was before cancer is a challenge. Chemo gave me cardiomyopathy which left me with so little energy I had to retire. Now I worry about mets (stage 3) and my heart. I’ve lost so much but I’m glad I’m still alive and try to make the best of day.
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Cancer robs us of so much, BUT I do see the beauty, too. No one prepares us for the long-term side effects. I didn’t expect or even know to expect it. Take it day-by-day and even moment-by-moment. Hugs, fellow warrior!
Going through a lot of the same things. Dealing with neuropathy. Had 7 surgery in 2 yrs 1 more in October. I wasn’t working when I got sick. Just had another biopsy 3 one in last year all okay. I just want to put all this behind me.
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The neuropathy is horrible, right?! I don’t feel the balls of my feet through my toes at all. It’s strange at how cold it makes me. It’s bad in my fingers today. I’ve been just freezing all day. I even turned my air off! I hope you can find time to just rest no only your mind but your body. So relieved your biopsies came back negative. Sending you hugs, fellow warrior!
Honey I am Barely a week out from my last chemo session and many of your sentiments hit home. It’s crazy how you think you should be floating and backflipping through life now that we are finished, but for some strange reason there is a residue of collateral damage that you’re trying to sort out. Well sis we have overcome so much and this I guess some may say is the easy part. Keep surviving, thriving, praying and speaking. I’ll be rooting you on from MD!!!