"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Screaming in the night

Since getting my diagnosis a month ago, I have been obsessed with breast cancer, worrying and freaking out.  My days are far from normal and don't resemble my days before hearing this news.  I feel like most of my motivation to do daily functions is non-existent.  Everything feels like a chore.  I just find myself in a place that is strongly unfamiliar to the person that I usually am.  I don't even know how to identify with this new "cancer person". 

Now, my days are filled with irrational thoughts, fear, sadness and panic.  As I do normal daily functions, there are moments where the cancer is out of my mind, but then those thoughts and feelings creep back in.  It's almost like there is no mental peace anymore.  There is nothing "care-free".   I even avoid putting on make up until late in the day because I usually cry it all off anyway. 

While my days are long and emotional, the nights are ten times worse.   For the first few days after getting diagnosed, I slept a lot.  I was so emotionally drained and depressed, sleep seemed like a good escape.  Me, the person that can't sleep more than eight hours a day, was sleeping twelve hours a day.  Then I had my lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy surgery and took some pain medications in the following days.  That's when the nightmares started.  I would wake each night hysterical, crying and shaking.  The dreams were so real and in each of them the theme was the same.  I was always somewhere unfamiliar, scary and alone.  I kept trying to call my husband for help either by yelling or calling him on the phone and no matter what I did and how hard I tried, he would never hear me or the phone wouldn't work and I would panic and cry uncontrollably.  It's like no one was going to help me or save me.  At some point, I would wake up with tears all over my face and just sob out loud.  One night at 3:30am I sobbed loud as my husband held me for an hour.  I was just so inconsolable.  He just held me and kept saying "it will be OK, you will be OK". 

Since this started weeks ago, I am so afraid of night time.  I am afraid to sleep.  The night time use to be a time of peace and relaxation after a long and busy day.  Now when I lay in bed and turn the lights out, it turns into complete panic and I just start crying.  No matter what I do, my mind goes to all of the worst case scenarios. My head is filled with questions and fearful thoughts that just won't stop.  Now it is to the point that I put the TV on in bed every night so there is no peace and quiet or any time to have my mind unoccupied.  I watch TV - bad late night TV for hours until finally I just can't keep my eyes open anymore and fall asleep.  Once asleep, my husband must wake and turn the TV off as I never actually turn it off myself.  When I wake again, I am usually scared and just want to have my husband hold me.  I feel bad that since this started he has had no sleep either. 

After another panicked night last night, I asked my husband "what if I can never have mental peace again?".  The thought that I could feel like this forever is like facing and endless emotional torture.  I had my medical oncologist prescribe me some pills so I could sleep at night, but I just hate taking pills.  I even told my husband that I just didn't want to have to rely on medications to get through all of this. Then I quickly realized that this is just the beginning of a lifetime of pills and medicines.  I am going to end up having a huge purse filled with pillboxes or something like a little old lady.  I can't even comprehend all of this.  I just don't know who I have become and what has happened to the life that I knew before the big "C" came along. 

I guess part of the new me has to embrace ways to deal with the screaming in the night and sleeplessness through pills.  This is totally foreign to the person I was, but I guess I will never be that same person again.  This journey through breast cancer is not only about surgery to remove my breasts, hormone treatment and chemotherapy, it's about learning to let go of things that use to be and parts of who I was.  I just don't know how I put all of this together to become a "new me".  This is going to be hard.  After 45 years I thought I knew who I was, but now it's like starting all over again.  I hope at the end of this process I can find a way to identify with the new person that I become and the new body I will have.  I think this is going to take a "shit-load" of serious counseling, really! 

No comments:

Post a Comment