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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A good look in the mirror

Yesterday was emotionally exhausting for me.  For some reason I just feel so overwhelmed these days with the prospect of us moving out of state.  I am sick of going through treatments and surgeries.  My son has been crying a lot and having meltdowns (he's only 4 so there is nothing rational about it....).  My husband has been travelling all over for job interviews leaving. I am home alone during the day recovering from my last surgery and cannot drive or exercise at all (which is probably what is making me crazy).  My family and friends seem to have moved on beyond my diagnosis and treatment and are just busy and don't check in very often any more.  I just emotionally feel drained at this point.

Last night I was getting ready for bed and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I looked at myself in the mirror and I just began to cry.  I did not know who that woman was in the mirror.  What happened to me???  I saw a thinner woman that looked older with horrible dark circles under her eyes.  I saw frumpy, old lady hair.....with gray roots and frizz.  I see eyebrows half missing and drawn in.  I see a scar on her arm from the dreaded chemo port...and I know there are huge incisions across each breast under the clothes I see. 

I don't know who this is and where the old me went.  It's like I just flashed forward to this point in my life and really don't know how I got here.  I am just so sad.  I look so warn, older and beat up.  I feel so ugly.  I feel much like Frankenstein these days with scars across each breast, scar from the lumpectomy on the side of my right breast and chemo port scar in my right arm.  All I could do was just sit on the bench at my vanity in the bathroom and sob.  I just want my life back.  I hate breast cancer.  I hate even more what it has done to me and taken from me.  I know I will never have my old life back again.  That breaks my heart.

I honestly don't know who this new person is.  She is fragile, dependent on others, scared shitless, lonely and completely overwhelmed by even the simplest of things or decisions.  I can't even relate to her.  I was always the woman that was self sufficient, confident, independent and the type to forge forward through anything and tackle it head on.  Now just the thought of my life at times makes me want to run and hide in bed under the covers.  I find myself crying a lot again which is something I haven't done in months.  Why now?  Maybe it's because I know that this is not just a phase....this is how I have to live my life. 

I don't know how to not look in the mirror and see "that woman".  I want her to go away...I want the other woman back in the mirror.  I know this is a process.  I guess for the last 7 months I have been focusing on treatments and surgeries and making difficult medical decisions.  I don't even know what to do about the emotional effects of all of this.  I feel like I can't share with others how I feel. Those that love me and care about me would be mortified to know the thoughts and fears that reside in my head.  I am afraid to even say most of those words out loud as it could actually make those feelings more real.  Maybe not saying them makes them a figment of my imagination and they will go away.  Well I do live in the real world most of the time, so I know that isn't going to happen.

I know I have to take some steps to tackle this emotional crap.  Like everything else it seems overwhelming and I just want to avoid dealing with it.  Down deep inside I know I can't do that.  I know I can't continue to look in the mirror and see "that woman" forever.  I am going to have to take some kind of step forward emotionally to make that fraction of the woman I use to be go away and find me again.  For now, maybe I should just avoid looking in the mirror......who knew it could be so traumatic.  Boy am I glad my husband wasn't home last night for that mess.......he has no idea how lucky he is.


  1. Sounds like you are going through the "post-reconstruction" blues. They say it's common and all a part of the "acceptance" of our new status as BC survivors. Blech, I know! Hang in there, girlfriend! PS Mirrors are overrated!! ;-)

  2. Your words could have come straight from my mouth! You will feel better about yourself, in time. I still await my exchange surgery, I have many scars, lumpectomy, BLM, node dissection, 5 drain holes (!) but I recently decided to treat myself to a few oncology massages, by a two time cancer survivor and yesterday sought out counseling. Plus colored my graying hair! Sometimes you do have to mourn your old self, and it is hard. I lost myself for awhile, but it does get better, given time. Give yourself time, and I send a big hug to you :)

  3. Just checking in...don't worry things will get better. You have been through a lot like the rest of us. You just want to feel and be normal...I totally get it because I do too. I think it just takes time like anything else and we are impatient. I'm already surprised that I have done 5 of my 8 chemos. It seemed so impossible when I started. I know this is not answer you want to hear right this instant and seems so cliche, but it will get better. Hang in there ;-)