IN THE WEEDS
I look in the mirror and I don't even recognize myself anymore. The short hair. No eyebrows. Being at my heaviest weight ever. The weight keeps coming and just won't go away. I am struggling to balance work, family life and fun. One day of fun exhaust me for 2 or 3 days. Then the old mental patterns come back in. "You are not tired from the treatment for cancer. You are tired because you are fat. You are worthless. How can you let yourself go. Your cancer is going to progress and it will be all your fault." It is exhausting to listen to my negative self talk. This weekend was Memorial Day and it was HOT! In the 90's. I don't like heat. My stomach does not like heat. It seems to make my hot flashes come on even more. So I sit in the air conditioning and watch everyone else enjoying the lake, without me. I don't mind being on my own. I can read a book. Looking out the window I loved watching the kids making memories with their friends. I can see my husband laughing and joking. As much as I want to be in the thick of it. I feel calm. I see that no matter what happens to me that they will be okay. That they can do the holidays without me. That we have a strong group of friends that will keep them busy and look out for them. I don't know why I feel so lost right now. Some days I am so paralyzed by the fear of the future that I don't even know how to roll myself out of bed. Some days it feels like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop (progression). Then I feel frustrated that I can't paste a smile on my face and pretend it is all sunshine and rainbows. I feel like I am drowning and I don't know what to do with all this hurt and angst. So I sit and eat and mind numb with Netflix. But the guilt comes in waves and floods my brain. I am not out there living my best life. I am not out there being a cheerleader for my children. Inside I am on the sidelines whimpering. I tell myself to choose joy. I tell myself how lucky I am to be alive right now. I tell myself how lucky I am to have this time without progression. I tell myself to push through, faith over fear.
But my heart feels so heavy and I can barely get up to go to work. The flower pots sit empty growing weeds. It is a sign that I am having a really hard time holding it all together. I don't know where the joy went. I don't want to be this person. I want to wake up doing jumping jacks and make my family breakfast and have all these "Leave it to Beaver" moments. The reality is, I did not even get out of bed today to brush my daughter's hair. I feel like a total failure. I don't know what I want. I don't know how to change. I am paralyzed with the fear of my future and I feel like a fraud that I can't honor my mantras. I can't live up to those expectations, so I hide in a hole. I haven't blog. I don't connect with friends or family. I just keep spinning my wheels of how to I get my mojo back. Winter is over. I can't blame this on winter blues. A few weeks ago I went to a free conference for cancer patients. I thought it would give me a much needed boost. They fed us delicious vegan food and there were wonderful integrative speakers; even a comedian. It should have been a weekend of empowerment and 'me' time. But as I sat there my anxiety was rising. The underlying message was to do yoga, eat healthy, and stress less. Which are all important. But when you are tired and overwhelmed; it made my mental state worse. The guilt was overwhelming. I don't have money to pay for all these empowerment sessions and expensive supplements. I don't have the energy and let's be honest the desire to fix complex vegan meals. I don't have the time to take off work to schedule all the stuff. Where do I even begin. The stress of realizing that I was failing and that it was probably making me sicker (according to some of these speaker). Great! What's the point. I can't save myself. Why should I even bother trying?
Now my rationale brain tells me that I did not cause my cancer and that I can't control what the cancer decides to do. But that angst sits there in my stomach and I see myself withdrawing; allowing my family to do more without me. The little voice inside my head tells me, "That way they get use to living life without me." Sometimes living in my brain is exhausting. Hiding how I really feel is exhausting. It has been a year since my heavy chemo and a year an half since my diagnosis. I thought I had it all figured out. I was pretty tough and I was going to punch cancer in the face. I was going to be this amazing advocate. When I was feeling so sick and tired I felt better mentally than I do now. That feels so odd to me. I think I am grieving the old me. I have not quite accepted my new normal. I am hopeful that I will. I am hopeful that this is just a momentarily lapse of sadness. Like a news break. We break into this regular schedule thing called life to bring you some crazy shit. It will make you sad and mad and maybe a tad depressed. Hoping to resume your regular happy bubbly self shortly. Stay tuned. This is the reality of living with metastatic breast cancer. On the outside I look pretty normal but on the inside I am a hot mess. I am not some bad ass. I am just Katie. Struggling to find joy. Struggling to find the energy to plant some damn flowers.