Mid-Disease Crisis

March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM (after chemo, Energy, Recovery) (, , , , , , , )

It’s so weird how my life has become dictated by cancer. Even in this relatively healthy place, where I’m going to the gym and buying my own groceries and riding herd over my own kids, there is no aspect of my life that hasn’t changed since my diagnosis. Side effects, neuropathy, crunchy skin, fatigue, etc. etc. And lately, I’ve been feeling a bit put-upon because of it.

 Have I reached the end of my sunshine-y outlook? Am I really sick and tired of being sick and tired, or am I just not able to maintain my optimism anymore? I’m probably going to start a cutting-edge targeted genetic therapy trial by early May (I find out on Thursday) – why isn’t my oncologist’s enthusiasm for emerging treatments rubbing off on me?

 Not only that, but I find myself extra-nervous about changing protocols.  I know, that’s not unreasonable. But not just because of the potential side effects and change in my lifestyle; what if they work? No, seriously. I’ve been grooving along in this mindset of fighting-cancer-fighting-cancer for so long but ultimately assuming that I’ll be checking out before my retirement planning becomes an issue. 

I certainly have plenty of reasons to stick around – two of which are currently listening to Captain Underpants and destroying their bedroom at the end of the hall. But the whole concept of winning this battle and returning to life as a human being, not a cancer patient, seems a little unnerving to me. I’m getting quite good at the fight – what will I do with myself if I’m not doing that anymore? Is that it? Survivor guilt? Mid-life crisis? Mid-disease crisis?

Is this like being an empty-nester – when the kids move out, who are you anymore? There are certainly plenty of things I’d rather be doing with my time than running down to D-F every couple of weeks for another dose of x-rays and IV toxins. I’m sure I can figure out a career option or two that could keep me occupied. Is this like the uncertainty that all cancer patients go through during remission – feeling adrift and depressed without that regular touch-base appointment with the supportive medical team, sitting around waiting for the next three-month appointment and blood test and hoping they don’t show a recurrence this time? Seems like I’m sorta putting the cart before the horse.

 Whatever it is, I’m grouchy for sure. Sounds like I could use a vacation.

Hey, yeah: some time in my happy place. That’ll certainly help.

wow, looka that hair.

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  1. Shannon said,

    Unfortunately most of us survivors do have the survivor guilt. Not knowing what to do next was a big deal for me after I passed the “3 months to live” marker, by eight years, until it finally got me again. Seems once you have your diagnoses, it’s a waiting game…waiting for a lot of different things to happen, or not. I’ve found if you make things happen, really focus on your future and start making things happen, it’s easier to begin enjoying living again.

  2. Dirk said,

    Hang in there!

  3. Ann said,

    I keep hearing about the time after main treatment over being depressing but I can’t imagine that. Just know that as you have adjusted to having a life with cancer, you will certainly adjust to life without. Hopefully, that will be the result of this new treatment and you will suddenly realized you don’t have enough to retire on. 🙂

    Fabulous photo.

  4. mynameisnotcancergirl said,

    I feel like I’m in an in-between place too. I’m excited that chemo is over, but I still feel a bit off kilter without my every Monday appointments. I begin 7 weeks of rads next week, and maybe that routine will bring about a certain level of comfort.

    I think, for me anyway, it’s been about the singlemindedness of the the fight and, those treatments were visible actions taken to win the fight and kill the cancer. Life after chemo feels like living on chance, and I do much better when I’m in control…that’s it. I feel like I’ve lost control (and yes, I know it was a false sense of control).

    All that to say, I understand what you’re feeling. I’m lost and floating around too…and hoping that with all this time in the future to enjoy that we will maybe have a chance to meet.

  5. mynameisnotcancergirl said,

    Ha, this invitation to a lunch and learn was in my inbox after leaving my earlier comment (TurningPoint is an organization for breast cancer patients, which is why they specify breast cancer). I guess it’s completely normal, huh?

    Navigating the Waters after Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment – Transitioning to Your New Normal
    Presented by: Cynthia Johnston, RN, MS
    Many patients report feeling confused and uncertain once their breast cancer treatment ends. Whether you are currently in treatment or later in recovery, this session will address the issues of concern for you. Participate in discussion and learn tools that will assist you in transitioning to the next phase of survivorship.
    Friday, April 9, 2010, Noon – 1:00 pm

  6. cindy said,

    u certainly have plenty of reason to feel grouchy when you do….
    at the same time we could all be better off and we could all be worse off too…perspective is key…plus, how boring would life be if we did not experience a melange of emotions & transitions etc.
    here’s some things i’ve learned in my 43 years thus far:
    cancer sucks,
    life is challenging but worthy,
    cancer sucks,
    and above all happiness comes in moments (-:

  7. tori said,

    I just pray that this will be the next challenge in your life – dealing with life after cancer. It will be finding a new identity for yourself, but which ever one you find will be fabulous. You’re all about the fabulous.

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