What Is "Normal" Anyway?
No matter what anyone says or how hard you try to avoid it; cancer has a way of changing a person. Physically and emotionally. I for one, don't do all that well with big changes that come out of the left field. Cancer isn't one of those things that you plan for or pencil in on your calendar the way you do for your next vacation. Not that anyone would want to.
For those with an early stage diagnosis, the light at the end of the tunnel means coming to the end of treatment. It's the beginning of being able to put that far behind and returning to their normal lives. It can also be a scary transition. Going from regular appointments and doctor visits and graduating to 6 month or yearly visits can bring on anxiety and fears of having the cancer return.
In the thick of it or closing the chapter, one thing is consistent: everyone must find their "new normal."
The reality of my advanced diagnosis
I knew nothing about the treatment of breast cancer other than what most people are familiar with: cut, poison, burn and done. I was pretty much prepared in my head for how it was all going to go down. I too would follow the pink road that all the women before me traveled and on the other side, I would find that place called 'new normal' atleast that is what I assumed.
“Reality can be extremely disheartening when you've been seeing it through the pink lens you didn't even know was there.”
I quickly found out that cancer wasn't going to be just a pit stop for me. There would be no ringing of the bell, no goodbye hugs at the cancer center. Cancer was going to be my new normal. Doctors appointments, pill bottles, and scans were going to be regular calendar reminders popping up on my phone from here on out. I had to make some tough decisions in the beginning and I'm sure there will be more down the road but doesn't everyone at some point?
Putting it in perspective
Basically, for me, it boils down to this: everyone has their own issues they deal with. No one should ever minimize what they are going through based on someone else's problems. Yes, some issues are bigger than others. BUT. It's all relative. Putting it into that perspective allowed me to excuse myself from the pity party I crashed into head first. I may have cancer in my life for the long haul but somewhere out there, someone has it worse than I do. I certainly wasn't going to be the victim of my own life. I can do this cancer stuff, still, be me and make memories with my family.
New normal, old normal - Normal isn't a place, it's a feeling. As long as you're comfortable in your groove, does it really matter what you call it?
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?