Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bewitched by Cancer

I know I should be writing about the last half of my around the world tour. My computer broke in Hawaii and I'm currently writing this on a tablet. I promise, as soon as I get a new computer i'll fill in all the incredible details of the last 2 months of my trip.
Now I'm going to write about going back to dealing with cancer. While I was traveling, I was in a state of relaxation that I'm not sure I've even known in my adult years. I didn't not feel stress or anxiety, even when my travel plans went horribly wrong. I loved the long night buses, waking up in a strange town and getting lost on quaint streets. Traveling is spiritual for me. I felt closest to god, nature and the world around me. Ive now been in the US for a month and VT for 2 weeks, and I'm disappointed at how quickly stress and anxiety crept back into my life. The past two weeks I've been trying to juggle doctors appointments, work and job interviews. Work and the job interviews I find exciting, and I'm looking forward to finding out what this next year might bring, it is the never ending doctors appointments that drain me.

While I was traveling, I felt normal, like cancer was a thing of the past and there were even some days where cancer wasn't the first and foremost thing on my mind. I was finally feeling like I might be able to get my life back from the disease that already took so much. But since I've been back, cancer is regaining control of my life and all of my important decisions.

I am approaching my one year anniversary with no evidence of disease. It is a huge milestone, which I am unable to celebrate. In one way or another, i'll always be holding my breath and looking over my shoulder that cancer could be slowly invading my cells as it hijacks my veins to travel throughout my body. And as I approach this week that thought could be come a reality.  this week I have a bone scan and a scan of my uterus to look for signs of cancer.

A bewitching occurs as soon as the appointment for a scan is made. It starts slowly, and then snowballs into a frenzy of anxiety, on the verge of tears stress that I've learned to manage in public and act like nothing different is happening in my life. But tonight, as I round the corner to the week that might change my life forever I am counting down the days between still being in remission to being told i'll be living with cancer for the rest of my life. As I write this, I feel the intensity of my anxiety and cannot help to think I must be over reacting, is it normal to be this crazy and think this way? I know that I have a 70 percent chance this cancer may never come back, so the odds are in my favor. But I also know way too many young brothers and sisters who have lost the fight or are in a constant battle with the disease. I should not be dealing with these things in my 30's. My 30's are supposed to be about advancing my career, finding a life partner and starting a family. Instead I've had to move in my with my parents, put my career on hold and come to terms with the fact that dating isn't in my cards anytime soon.

Even as I apply for new teaching positions in the fall, cancer will eventually dictate my decisions as I know i'll finally be going through the most dreaded surgery for any breast cancer survivor: the double mastectomy. It is something that needs to be done as I am BRCA 2 positive and because of this genetic mutation I have a 50% chance of getting a totally new breast cancer. After the quick death of my friend, Tea Tree, I realized there were still things I can do to potentially save my life, although it is not sexy or glamorous, it's lifesaving. Besides, cancer already robbed those things from me, what's another thing to add to the list of scars and marks on my body.

So, to my loved ones, co-workers, the girl at the checkout in the grocery store I apologize if I seem distant, short, unwilling to make eye contact. I'm trying to hold it together, but it is exhausting.

1 comment:

  1. You are in our thoughts Barkle. We love you!!! Can't wait to see you in two weeks!