I no longer have moments where I can ‘forget’ I had breast cancer. I’ve never bounced back after all my treatments and many surgeries. My body continues to deteriorate instead of growing stronger. The physical pain continues to increase instead of decrease. The skin issues on my face, neck and chest continue to flare up.
This can’t be my permanent quality of life, can it?
I’m plagued by Survivor’s Guilt but also plagued by Survivor’s Envy. How is that possible?
I see others who I met during the start of my cancer path and see how well they bounced back afterward. I see those starting families, getting better jobs or continuing to kick ass at their current job, dating, getting engaged and married, working out and just looking fabulous.
Am I seeing only what they want others to see? Are they really struggling privately? Is it a show for the masses because social media never shows the whole story?
Then I get mad at myself because I know that other warriors are suffering in many ways post treatment or experiencing recurrence and metastasis, but don’t reveal it on social media.
My reality is I no longer have the strength to mask the physical and emotional pain. My quality of life plain sucks. This isn’t a pity party. I’ve tried to push through the physical pain. I get told to just exercise and will feel better. Well, all that movement is actually causing more inflammation and severe pain. My weight is going back up because the pain has become excruciating to the point of almost debilitating most days. It makes exercising and just moving incredibly hard and painful.
I just want to feel better.
I want to have energy.
I want to not feel envious of those survivors who are truly enjoying life. They’ve been through hell and back, too.
For me, my hell continues. The more intense the pain, the harder it is to manage other life stresses. It has increased my anxiety level to the point where I’m waking up nauseous each morning. My sleep is off cycle again.
I underestimated the effects of being medically induced into menopause, becoming officially barren and zero sex drive. How can I even think about dating when I feel and look like crap?
I’m having a tough time igniting my spark and passion. I’m so worn out from working and dealing with the office nonsense that I can barely write or do what I need to do to press forward.
I feel guilty for being envious of other survivors. I feel like October or PINKtober brings out the Grinch in me.
I want to celebrate my life, but is this really a life when I’m single and can’t date? When the pain is so debilitating that I cry out in agony and only my loving cat Nathan can hear me? When I’m so fatigued that I can barely do the laundry, vacuum and dust or make dinner?
For me, life post cancer has its many ups and downs. It seems these days are more down because the constant pain and fatigue is tearing down my defenses.
I fought so hard to try and not die from this. It’s not all smiles, pink tutus and walks. It’s shocking, stressful, utterly painful and exhausting to pretend I’m okay because I look healthy.
Until next time,