Every time I hear of someone being diagnosed with breast cancer, my heart drops. It drops because I am all too familiar with the process of finding a lump, getting diagnosed, and then treatment and recovery.
Breast cancer diagnosis
When I hear that someone has been diagnosed and that they have gotten treatment and are now cancer-free, my heart becomes conflicted. I have a mixture of joy and pain. Joy because God willing, they will never have to dance with the enemy again, and pain because I’m on what seems like a never-ending enemy dance tour. However, the thing about this dance tour is that, more often than not, I’m too tired to dance; therefore, I’m being dragged around like a Raggedy Ann doll by this dreadful disease.
Jealousy - an uneasy feeling for MBC patients
I would like to think that I’m overjoyed for anyone who survives this illness, but if I’m totally transparent, lately I’m finding myself feeling something that in past times I’ve never been able to identify with, and it is called “jealousy”.
I find myself being jealous because they made it out, and I haven’t and might not. I know this sounds ridiculous because I really wish that no one had to deal with this illness. So let me be perfectly clear for the purposes of this conversation: I don’t want ANYONE to suffer from any type of cancer. With that being said, I DON’T want to continue to suffer either.
When people tell me that they’re cancer-free, part of me is extremely happy for them, while the other part of me pouts like a bratty child. This is a huge conflict for me; I haven’t always been this way. So, when did I become this way?
I first noticed it when I kept going to the doctor, and the tumors kept growing in various places, and I kept feeling worse and worse. With every PET Scan or MRI, I noticed that I was becoming a very unhappy camper.
Metastatic breast cancer journey
When someone that I’ve loved and cared about is diagnosed and they pass away, it leaves me feeling very conflicted. It’s like, what do you have to do to win the war against this cruel foe cancer? Why are some healed, some suffering, and some pass away? Why can’t we all just be healed and live happily ever after?
My journey has me very conflicted. Some days I’m grateful. Other days I’m over it. And there are a few days that I am very saddened by everything concerning my overall health. I find myself being very annoyed when people say, “Well, you’re lucky to still be alive.”
Blank stare: Am I lucky to feel like crap every day, to have minimal energy, a waning appetite, and to be in pain twenty-four hours a day? This is the kind of pain where you don’t need an alarm clock because it wakes you up with a stabbing and burning sensation.
So is this luck, or is it internal conflict?
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?