This breathing probs has caused me to have significant anxiety. What is causing it? Do I have bleomycin lung damage? Radiation pulmonitis? Is it something in my environment? Should i request a scan? please let me do something to fix this. I feel helpless. This anxiety has spilled over into my life... It is making me realize how much my life will forever be affected by this experience.
I heard someone say - that everyone who has gone through cancer treatment will spend the next while living 'scan to scan'.
I am now 6 months out of chemo and 4 months post radiation. I have a head of very cury hair, and hair in all the other places I never wanted it. I am having to learn how tiodeal with it and not look like grandma with a perm. However, there is not one day that passes without thinking of The C Word. It has changed me. That feeling when you remember something really important that you've forgotten and your stomach does that little flip - it's like that all the time. Working at a desk - stomach flip. Reading a book - stomach flip. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from miserable sitting around thinking about it all the time but it's still always there making everything seem just a little bit worse but also a just little bit better.
And then I am okay. I can feel my hands and feet. I can get up and work all day without extreme nausea or fatigue. But the moment something feels strange, like my breathing, it all comes back. It will always be my first thought. My view of my body is different. It betrayed me once and I have lost trust.
How to really move on is the current dilemma and it's one that is not often talked about in the cancer world. I'm no fan of the cancer warrior/battle imagery but I am starting to think that the real 'battle' is what comes afterwards. Does it just dissipate in time? Will I one day be able to say that Mr. Hodgkins hasn't crossed my mind for a week? A month? Maybe. But then what happens when I get sick? Will my first thought always be cancer or its side effects?
In the meantime though I am very conscious of the inclination to wish your life away - live scan to scan- waste that life that you worked so hard to keep. I'm 2 months down with 10 months and counting to be out of the high risk relapse danger zone. My next scan is in October and then the next and then the next. If someone has some suggestions for ways to not wish those months away please let me know. On the other hand, being so conscious of time means you are more inclined to make the most of each day/week/month. Ever think 'wow I can't believe the school year is starting, where did summer go, it's September already'?? Well if you were counting months away you wouldn't- I'm being extra productive and loving it!
So I plod on, counting without counting....