Self-Care Through the Tears
I’m crying. Inconsolably. My nine-year-old son is staring at me in confusion, but I can’t stop. He deserves a better mother than me. Someone not broken, sick, or defeated. He’s such an amazing boy and it isn’t fair that he has to grow up with a sick mother. If I’m even around for much more of his growing up. In my heart, I know this is what I’m really mourning, however the day started innocuously.
Lost in my feelings
Today started out well. I felt good and thought I’d take a pass at mowing my backyard. My son had his heart set on putting out the slip n’ slide he got for Christmas. Taking care of my backyard is something I’ve loved to do and taken great pride in handling myself. My garden, my flowers...my weeds. Unfortunately, it’s gotten away from me a bit in the last year.
The first thing I realize is that ten weeks into chemotherapy, I don’t have the energy I used to have to do this. So I take a break. And another. It’s going, but slowly. Somewhere into my fourth break, the pain sets into my hips. I barely have the strength to push the self-propelled machine. The breaks get longer, but I keep at it. My son deserves to be able to play in his yard. When there is about twenty square feet left, I feel defeated. Lost. And the floodgates open.
Metastatic breast cancer is slowly taking things away from me
It’s not about the yard. It’s that I know in my heart that I can no longer do all the things I used to be able to do. Things I enjoyed doing. Cancer is slowly taking things away from me. I hate, hate, that I can’t do something myself. The stubbornness in me is resisting yet it comes out a waterfall of tears. Something so mediocre or dumb to someone else, but it’s an example of what my life has become and how I no longer can dictate what I can or cannot do.
Mad at metastatic breast cancer
Hours later, I can barely walk and am beholden to my pain medication. My son keeps giving me sideways looks in case I’m about to start crying again. We never did get the slide out today. I am so mad I could scream. Mad at myself, mad at the world, but mostly mad at cancer. Cancer is a beast that chisels away at your body, your mind, and eventually your life. I know my reaction is normal, maybe even healthy as I’m allowing myself to really feel it today instead of pushing it down and away. You need to feel all the feelings you have or you’ll combust.
Focusing on the positives
I am a master at suppressing the negativity this disease brings. I choose to focus on the positive aspects of my days. I have often said that if I’m on limited time, then the time I do have won’t be spent wallowing in self-pity. Unfortunately, by not allowing myself the time to grieve the things that cancer is taking from me, it stores up until the eventual eruption. Today was my Pompeii. Being a single mother, I try to keep these moments to myself. The universe did not respect that wish and while I hid it as best as I could, my son was subjected to some of the waterworks.
Lessons even on the hard days with MBC
I have spent the day reassuring my son that I am ok, that he is loved above all things. Tomorrow, we’ll get that slide out and I’ll watch him play. I’ll be gentle with him and on myself. Sometimes we need to remember how hard we are on ourselves in order to show ourselves some grace. I learned that today, so I can’t say the day was all bad. There are lessons in all things if you look for them.
I’m done crying today.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to share that on Saturday, September 12th, 2020, April Doyle passed away. We know that April’s advocacy efforts continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?