I'm finished from chemo but still, two weeks on, i'm breathless and achey and melancholy. Yes, I know that's hopefully the worst of it over and yes, I also know the sun is out.
Here's the thing. I've just spent five months in a constant spin of line flushes, blood tests, chemo, feeling ill, growing stronger, scans, consults and repeat. For five months my life became only about cancer, the nurses in the Oncology day unit became some of my closest confidants and then suddenly it was gone. No appointments to go to, no distractions. The real world has hurtled on five months ahead of me. My friends and family are at work, Child 1 and 2 are at school and nursery and I still don't have the energy to do much more than survive. i'm not able to give myself a sense of achievement by decorating, ot gardening or exercising. My biggest achievement these days comes from washing up and hanging out laundry all on the same day.
That said I have decimated Netflix. At first I was picky and would only watch top rated films and series. By yesterday I knew I was in trouble when I realised I'm now scraping the barrel with any old thing and was even starting to say things like 'wow, look at that!' despite there being no one else watching with me.
I don't want to go outside too much because my self-esteem has taken a right old beating. I don't want to dress myself up because I can't hide being pale and bald (even I have had to give up my beloved beany in the heat) and dressing down has never helped anyone. Plus I have absolutely ZERO to say for myself other than giving a running commentary of the day's ailments.
On top of all this are thoughts of how I need to change my life once i'm better. Part of me wants to be a proper grown up again and do a proper grown up job but there's also a whisper that won't be silenced which says 'you can't do that, you've had too long out of it, give up, give in.'
A lot of people are aware of how cancer impacts on your physical identity but it's the changes it makes to your emotional identity which can at times be harder to deal with. Who is this defeatist i've become? When did I stop hoping and dreaming in favour of moping and feeling sorry for myself and frantic to change all at the same time?
When I was first diagnosed I felt like I was living a nightmare. Now its turned into a combination of the dream where you're naked in front of a crowd crossed with trying to run but not going anywhere.