Thursday, December 26, 2013

Speak the Unspeakable

I wonder if one should consider themselves a writer when different situations arise and they think..Hmmmm...maybe I should write this down. Or maybe I'm not a writer, myself, but a blogger of musings. Things that run through my head and tend to re-run until I actually do get them down on paper (or a blog). I'm not sure. All I know is that I have not felt ok in my own skin and I have had no idea why. Well, I mean, I know WHY but it seems like it should have been getting better, not worse. And then a friend who is a cancer fighter herself described how she was feeling and that her doctor told her it was normal. Normal. Let me explain....

Since before Thanksgiving I have felt itchy in my own skin. Almost like I am anxious but have no reason to be. Things need to be planned. I need to be in control. People need to comply. I flip from that side to the exact opposite...Oh, let them do what they want. Whatever works. I don't mind. I'm like a charlatan only no one knows which way the wind blows. Especially me. And constantly, this itching inside of me. This jumpiness that will not be calmed. I can't name it. And I can't figure out why no one else sees it. I feel like I am twitching from the inside out.

As Christmas approached, it got worse. My stomach was upset, my sleep interrupted. My days were found doing who knows what, cleaning the same thing, doing the same laundry, rearranging the same toys, moving things from here to there, all the while this jumpiness was going on inside me and starting to ooze out of me. I was short tempered. Intolerant. Seriously, could people have been any more stupid? Could the check out lady take any longer? Could people not drive? I thought I was going insane. I thought all of the sudden everyone had taken an ignorance pill and I was having no more of it. Then Dave reminded me that my medicine will make me short tempered and to be aware.....I tried to pull myself back under control. Even though the words weren't coming out of my mouth, they were running through my mind.

And yet, I still feel this itchiness. This jumping inside me. This desire to curl up in a fetal position and cry, or to hit someone, hard. Twice. Maybe to a pulp. I vacillate between the two so quickly I almost can't trust my own judgement. Am I going crazy? I think I'm going crazy. Only no one seems to notice. How can they not notice? I'm about ready to jump out of my skin!

It all comes to a head on Christmas Eve Eve at church. I sit there listening to this amazing performance, holding my antsy daughter who is feeding off my ping ponging emotions and I want to cry. I realize I am afraid I am going to die. That I have been given this wonderful life with this loving man and four outstanding children and I am going to die. I finally hold in my arms one of the biggest dreams come true in my life and I am going to miss her growing up.

In my mind, I always saw myself as an old, old lady when I die. At least in my 90's. I'll have lived a full life, still be sane of mind (yeah, right) and physically able to make it to Bingo in my assisted living home. And now, I feel cheated. I feel like my life has been cut short. BAM! The door on watching my children grow up is creaking shut. High school graduation. College graduation. Car buying. Drivers licenses. Buying a dress that my future daughter in laws like. Watching my daughter walk down the isle on her Daddy's arm, seeing Grandchildren, even great Grandchildren! Gone. Most of that feels far, far away, and unobtainable. Catastrophe in my own mind? Probably, but there it is.

The healing comes not after I tell not one, but four friends that I am losing my mind. My first friend is compassionate. She knows my journey and is there for me. But this is Christmas Eve one has time and I've decided I'm having a break down! The next two friends flit on about their nights and who can blame them? It's freaking CHRISTMAS! My fourth friend gets my tears. She holds me tight and then she does it. She puts to words what I am feeling. "Are you afraid you are going to die?" Oh.My.Goodness! Someone said it out loud. As tears stream down my face, I acknowledge it. Yes. I am afraid my days are numbered. That my Christmas's are limited. And I think back on when we adopted Elliana and I bought everything under the sun I could for her. To make up for the 10 years I didn't have her. Maybe I was really buying things because I wouldn't be here to give them to her. My sweet friend grasps my hands and my mind is running 1000 miles an hour. She looks me straight in the face as if she can read my mind. "God did not give you that baby girl just to take you away from her. You are going to live!" Later that night, another friend texts me out of the blue those same exact words. Unsolicited. As if she can see my soul in turmoil. "Our eyes will meet at your daughter's wedding and you will know I have spoken the truth. You will watch your children grow and you will dance at their weddings." Oh be still my soul. Find peace.

I know I have no reason to feel this way. I know that as I sit here, the cancer in my right breast is gone.  I sit here cancer free, as far as I know. But three months ago I was walking through life without a worry that I had cancer in the first place. So, there is that running through my mind. I also know that I have a second surgery on Monday and I am afraid when they sample my breast tissue that they will tell me it is lobular as well and I will have to have another mastectomy. I know that God will carry me through, but for awhile, I felt like a hamster in a cage just running in circles.

Which brings me to what my friend's Dr told her. That feeling like this from Thanksgiving to Christmas is normal for cancer patients. That I will feel like this on some other dates too. And special anniversaries. This crawling out of my skin itchy-jumping-twitching will come and go through the years. That most cancer patients describe it. Anxiety. Anxious. Fear that the cancer is back. Or spreading. Or out of control. Because cancer is never IN our control. And that is still a hard topic to swallow. But hearing the word "die" out loud made it less scary and now I'm employing my friend's advice. "What's the worst thing that could happen?"

Yes, I could have a reoccurrence and die. But there are other things that are worse in this world to me. I could not know God as my savior and live a lonely life with no hope for salvation. I could not have a loving husband and four caring children. I could not have a wonderful extended family that loves me. I could not have a house or friends or money in the bank or I could lose a child. There are much worse things than dying and hopefully going to live in Heaven. To not rest in peace, but to live for eternity with Jesus.

I think I'm on the back side of this crazy loop. One I did not foresee. But I guess I will travel again. Until then I will put my trust and faith back in God. I know that each trial he gives me becomes a testimony for someone else to hear. So I'm speaking loud and clear1 This road is tricky! I will sometimes falter and fall. I'm scared a lot. And angry some. And even though my breast is gone and I'm back to normal activities, Cancer is still very much a part of my life. That, and the itchy-jumping-twitching.............

Onward! Stagger stepping, but moving forward such as it is.


Andrea said...

Beautiful post, Kathy. You are one of the strongest people I know!

Dan Amongst Men said...

Kathy, oh my! And there I was thinking you had it all.. Last time I visited your blog I was feeling sorry for myself because you got your girl and I didn't. Well there's a lesson for me here isn't there. I am physically well and I take it for granted. I say physically because my mind is a whole heap of trouble, but the rest of my body is good. Whatever I think about being given five sons and no daughters pales into insignificance at the prospect of illness taking me away from them. I so happy to hear that you are doing ok. I wish you many years of enjoyment with that beautiful family of yours!

MotheringBoys said...

Andrea, I feel weak most of the time!!
Dan Amongst Men, we never know what road our lives will lead us to, do we? The thought of missing even one milestone of any of my 4 children hangs over my head daily. Ignorance is bliss! Live there. Those boys are blessed to have you !!!