Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I had this great idea of a cute story to blog about last night just before I went to sleep. I should have written it down as I have no recollection of it now. Sorry. So I have been wracking my brain for what to talk about. Nothing really interesting has happened recently. In fact I have been extremely stressed and frustrated this last week.

You see I feel like I am in a limbo of sorts. My treatment is over and things are better than they have been all year and yet I can’t say things are great. Things are just not the way they used to be. I guess I thought that once I was given a clean bill of health I could just ‘get on with things’ and resume where I left off. I am learning this is not that easy.

I am still fighting with my body. I am very weak and tired all the time and have to build up my stamina again. This is going to be a very slow and long process. I can only do about 10 minutes of easy physical activity at a time. Simple things like cleaning my little apartment or vacuuming or doing laundry can be overwhelming and something I sometimes need help with. Things one takes for granted like walking around the block or running errands are still a challenge for me. The thought of going back to work or school, even part time, is still more than I can think about right now. I have a ways to go before that is a possibility.

The other thing that is knocking me on my ass is my self esteem. My body doesn’t look like it used to. I am much heavier. I am much flabbier. I feel weak. I don’t feel very good looking anymore. I just look different. Tired. I hate my hair. I have scars where I used to have unmarked skin. I don’t have breasts anymore. The reconstruction ranges from uncomfortable to outright painful. Everyday. While I am cancer free I still feel and look unwell. I just feel ugly.

I had an anxiety problem before the cancer. After my diagnosis with all the extra fears and stress it got really bad. It is worse than it ever has been. Basically uncontrollable. My life is compromised by panic attacks everyday. So now I have a new project trying to get that under control again. This will take months if not years. So the battle continues.

I have always been very impatient. Once I get my mind set on something I like to get it accomplished right away. I like to see quick results. I really thought that once I beat this cancer I would be back on my feet and raring to go. I thought that I could just resume my life like nothing had happened. I had no idea how low I would feel after. How discouraged I would be. I didn’t have a clue how much this disease and its treatment takes it out of you both physically and mentally. I didn’t dream that it would be such a challenge to resume my old life.

So things are very unsatisfying and I have to be patient just when I thought things would be getting better. I feel like I should be happy, and I am a lot of the time, but overall I am not satisfied with where I am right now. I want to go on like it never happened but I just can’t. It won’t let me.


Closet Metro said...

It's gonna take a little time to get out of that cocoon, Butterfly.

Sharkey said...

Awww . . . there's no way I can top what CM said, so I'm not even going to try.

Cancer sucks! But you knew that already, right? Buck up, buckaroo! Your stamina will improve, and you may not even notice at first. But one day you'll realize, "Hey, I just cleaned the whole bathroom! And I didn't even have to sit down and rest!"

At that point, you will have surpassed my stamina levels.

stampydurst said...

VKP-Physical and mental recovery sucks, I know it does. Not personally - don't get me wrong. I have to counsel patients everyday (sometimes cancer patients, sometimes a "simple" ACL reconstruction) on how long and hard their recovery is going to be. I always say, "I have the easy part. The surgery is only about 10%. You're rehab-which is all you-is the rest." The younger, healthier, and more motivated they are, the harder it is. I realize these are just words, words, words. (I also tell patients, "I'm going to tell you this again and again. Because right now, all you hear is 'blah, blah, blah'.") All I'm trying to say, is that even to someone who hasn't been through what you are going through, you are making awesome progress. Cut yourself some slack and try to be patient. You won't. I know. But you are going to make it through all this like a star. Trust me, I'm a doctor. ha, ha.

Dima said...

I know what I say may sound very cliche, but just the fact that you kicked cancer's ass is a huge accomplishment. You had the most amazing attitude through it all, and that takes a toll on you as well. I can't tell you enough how beautiful you are, and how amazing you are. It will take time, but eventually you will get back to the way you were physically and mentally, and just know that we are all here for you.
You should be happy and patient, but no one blames you if you are not.
I wish I lived closer, I would be there in a blink of an eye to help you with everything, and maybe play with Yoshi a little :)

Ern said...

Big *HUGS* Kranki, and hang in there. We'll be haning' along side of you.

(Word Verif.: "oopuurh", which is the sound of you pushing yourself too hard. Be patient with yourself.)

Jeannette said...

I know. I just know.

I want to tell you that everything eventually gets to be the way it was before, but I can't. Life is different after cancer. But that doesn't mean it can't be good. We just have to use a different set of tools to build it up again.

(Damn if I can't remember where I put that tool box.....oy, the memory!)

Hugs to you!

alan said...

You have done something that 7 members of my family have been unable to so far; you've beaten cancer. That is HUGE!!! Yes, it is going to take a bit for you to get back on your feet, get used to your new cancer free body, and get on to the things you want to do with the rest of your life, but I wish that somehow you could find some joy in that, like we did the day you told us you had won this magnificent battle!

As for the changes in your body, yes they are dramatic; but the weight will go, the strength will return and at some point this will be a distant memory. Would that we each could do a rotation helping you with the things that need doing just to give you something to chuckle over, but I probably wouldn't do your laundry any more satisfactorily than my wife's and I've had 30 years of practice with hers...dishes and vacuuming fall into that category as well. I still do them, but somehow I always hear about it. (One of my grandmothers was a missionary among the Navaho and she said they always leave a flaw in anything they make, a blanket, a piece of pottery, etc., to let the evil spirits out. Perhaps I'm just trying to let them out of my life?)

Here's hoping this morning greets you with a smile, and a wonderful day ahead!


Karen said...

"What we call 'Progress' is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance." (Havelock Ellis)

I didn't have anything inspirational to say, so I tried looking up an inspirational quote, but they all sounded so...I don't know. Wrong somehow. I like this one better. It's cynical, but I think it might suit your mood right now.

Cheer up! You're making progress. ;-)

sheryl said...

Oh, I love Closet's comment.
It's exactly what I was thinking. At first.

Hopefully it doesn't piss you off... when I am down and people tell me to be patient it isn't exactly welcome news. Or news.

Fuck cancer! And FUCK Patience, too!

FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM! (Doing my Braveheart rebel yell)

ok. That probably doesn't help either. But it's ok to let yourself get pissed off once in a while. From what I've heard a few free flying FUCKs and AAAAAAAAAAARGHs once in a while can cut down on anxiety and depression.

Julio Cesar said...

Both my parents had cancer, and both of them conquered and get their lives together after that...

My father's was worst than my mother's and I could see how he changed after the disease and how he could find different resources to keep on with his life. My father had it when I was 10 years old and now I am 36 and he's kicking ass!

I know healing, both physically and mentally, takes a while but believe me when I tell you that you're going to be well...

You just did the hardest part, kick the cancer out of your body, the other part takes patience and time...

Have a great morning!

True_Halcyon said...

I'm not going to tell you to cheer up... I think you're entitled to marinate in your feelings for as long as you like. When you decide that it is counterproductive to every level of your recovery, you will do it either alone, or with the aid of friends/ people who care and the help of professionals. I'm just going to say that there is a whole wellspring of collective well-wishers for you to draw upon; use us, we don't mind! Whatever we can do, we'll do for you. It could be as simple as listening, or as complex as researching information on the Net which could potentially assist you in some way. Having to learn a whole new skillset for this thing called Life is no easy task! Do try to enjoy your day.

kassi said...

You need lots and lots of chocolate. Okay...maybe I need lots and lots of chocolate...but I think you are awesome anyway.

ScottyGee said...

It does take a long time to get it all back. My ex went through the same thing. It took her almost a full year to get back in shape and get back on the soccer field. Your body is still in recovery mode and will be for quite a while. Just take pride in the little things like completing that pilates workout! If you get down about it just think of the alternative. At least you are around to get that body back into shape and become the sexy Canuck you are no matter how long you can clean a bathroom.

Now go smack some doctor ass!

Your CD's are on their way. =)

Pixie LaRouge said...

I don't have any pithy words of advice. I don't even have a real grasp of what you're going through. But I've been though something (less) traumatic, and I remember how I wanted everything "Back to normal... RIGHT NOW." It never happened.

But guess what. There's a new normal waiting for you. One you're going to love. You've proven you have the courage, the strength and the grace to go for it. Next time you're feeling overwhelmed, come over to your blog and remind yourself how many of us out here KNOW that you're incredible. We all believe in you!!!!

Twisteduterus said...

give yourself some time--you are healing.

an shoosh on the looks part of it-you are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and you did some serious kong fu to the evil cancer-that alone is worth superhero status//now would you like cape or a shield?

Squirl said...

I was going to say a lot of what everyone else has said here.

But, I see your attitude as a positive thing. Even though there are the panic attacks and you're hating the whole thing, you are fighting. You're not going to take this crap lying down. That's the attitude that will carry you to a healthier, happier you.

Jessica said...

There isn't much I can add to the lovely comments here, but I just want to figuratively offer you a shoulder to lean on. I would also like to clean your apartment. Figuratively speaking, of course.

snaps79 said...

I don't care what kind of hair is on that head, or weight is on that body - your smile and those eyes are BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL. You could be Mary-Kate and Ashley thin, with weeks left of your life. Embrace the temporary extra you and give thanks that you have days and weeks and months and years to do whatever you want with your body.

And, short hair ain't so bad! Look at Natalie Portman - she's rockin' it for us!

Carol said...

I was going to write all sorts of stuff, but I just want to say this... Hang in there. It WILL get better. We are all still STILL pulling for you. You know it's not quite over yet and so do we. Love!!!

Amy said...

Sorry you are feeling crummy, Kranki.

happyandblue2 said...

Don't feel down. You are amazing..

kalki said...

Patience is not a virtue of mine, either. And I'm sorry you have to spend all this time and effort cleaning up after a mess you didn't cause. Not fair.

For the record, I think you're fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I'm always sad when I see people being so hard on themselves when they have accomplished so much. Think of how you would act, and what you would say if you had a very good friend going through this, and try to treat yourself that gently.


Precisiongirl said...

I too want things right now, straight away - I'm not too good with the whole patience thing.

I completely agree with Scottygee and Snaps - you need to mark those milestones you achieve with sushi treats, and not get down because you've got a little extra podge than usual.

You've done the hard bit, there's just a little bit further to go.

katietoyboy said...

we don't mind cute stories, but if you are not feeling 'bracelety' today, well, thats what you need to tell us about. don't forget that we are all waiting for those posts from your trip to Hawaii, you are not getting out of that mission so easily. i'm failing miserably to imagine what your present experiences and feelings might be, but i know you have the strength to get past this stage with as much hotness as you did the last year. GO KRANKI GO

eclectic said...

Anxiety sucks, frustration and exhaustion suck, and lack of direction sucks, too. Maybe part of what you're feeling is the simple let-down of not having an identifiable enemy to fight at the moment. For a year, you've had a focus and a reason to rally, and now it's gone and there's no other immediate challenge other than the nebulous "recovery". This is a shadowy place on your road, but sunlight's just around the corner. And if it's not, I'll send you a honking-big flashlight.

hemlock said...

Yeah, CM said it beautifully.

I think a lot of people are the same way; they focus and get things done. For sure it's frustrating when your mind is ready, but your body isn't.

Although you're probably sick of hearing this, take the time to ease into things. By taking it slow, you reduce the risk of hurting yourself.


abcd said...

I know you don't want to hear this but
I am going to blurt this out.

It is very common, very common, when
one has been Dx with cancer to have
anxiety. Even after they have been told
they are cancer free.

I want you to cut yourself some slack.
Be good to yourself. Be your own
best friend.


Susie said...

Oh, kranki. There are so many wise and good people here. And they're all right, even when they're saying different things. I love you. I admire and respect you so much. You know I know about the panic. It sucks SO much. You know, you are a world-class ass-kicker, now. You will kick panic's ass, too. Your efforts WILL pay off, with increased energy and muscle. As long as you don't overdo it, you really will get where you want to be. I'm glad you wrote this. Please keep talking to us. You don't have to be entertaining. Do you get how BEAUTIFUL you are to everyone here? Do you know how much we light up when we see your face? What do you have that you don't like? Post a picture of your scars, or your flabby ass! Go on, I double-dog dare you. We will still see a VERY beautiful woman. We will keep seeing you that way until you see it, too. And even after that :)

kalki said...

I just wanted to stop by and say hi. And give you a hug. And an ass pinch.

Amanda B. said...

Well, I hear you on the anxiety part babe. Take good care of yourself.

As far as your looks, you are still beautiful to me. I know you must feel sort of "out-of-body" but things will continue to improve as you heal.

P.S. Don't forget I get first honk on the new breastes-ses!

Momentarily_Distracted said...

I'm with Susie on this one. :o)

Susie said...

Just checking in, girlfriend. I hope it's been a good day, a better day :)

Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie...have you considered talking with a professional about all these feelings? Boy there are so many places I could go with this however, I'm being completely serious. Your life has been turned upside down and it's understandable that you would have a struggle of some kind getting back to "normal". The interesting thing about this is that you will never be able to go back to what you believe "normal" is or was. You will come up with a new normal though! Sad as it is, you can't go back to before cancer. It's a big job you have in front of you my dear however I have faith in you and you are strong and you kicked cancer's ass so I know you can do this too. I'm sorry about the anxiety attacks. Those totally suck. Again, my suggestion is some counseling for a bit. It can't hurt...and it just might help. How 'bout a support group for cancer survivors? I'm thinking of you.

spoonleg said...

We love you, Stacey! Cheer up, feel better, AND NEVER FORGET THAT YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL.

That is all.