the bonds that break

As humans, we are hardwired for connection.

We connect through our life experiences – sometimes they’re big and terrible, like cancer – and sometimes they’re small, like going to the same gym or working together.

While all our connections are important, many of us have one that ranks above all the rest: our best friend, our “person.” Someone who’s been there through all those big, scary moments. The first person you tell (or maybe he’s there holding your hand and the doctor tells both of you at the same time), the first person you cry with (probably in the car after the appointment, before you take a deep breath and call everyone else who needs to know), the first person who cries with you. The person you want around when you’re in the chemo chair, and afterward too, when you’re sick and tired and wondering if it will be worth it. Looking at him, thinking about your future together, reminds you that it will be. The person who shaves your head. The person who loads your Filgrastim needle because of your paranoia about shooting yourself full of air, and holds your hand while you stick yourself. The one you let your guard down around and scream and cry and say you feel ugly and you’ll never be yourself again.

And that person is there for the really great moments too — he’s sitting beside you at every appointment when the scan results show improvement, then, finally, remission. He comes to every follow up where you keep getting good news – three months, six months, a year, and slowly, you start to put that part of your life behind you. Your hair grows back (but not before you drop a grand on hair extensions to get through the awkward stage). When strangers look at you, they don’t stare anymore. They can’t even tell what you’ve been through.

You think you can finally start living a “normal” life. This is it. You made it. You survived cancer after being married for only 18 months. 

But something is off.

The connection is different. You don’t notice when you’re busy trying to remain alive. You don’t notice when BOTH of your lives revolve around treatment, scans, and follow ups. As you start to transition back, cracks start appearing in the foundation that you thought was rock solid.

You can’t find seem to your way back to just being his wife. You can’t remember who you were before cancer. It isn’t the same.

You try, anyway. Man, you try. You try everything, because this is your person God damnit, and if we made it through cancer we’ll make it through the transition back to being “normal.” And you really do want to be his wife. More than anything, really, you want to find your way back to being best friends.

But try as you might, you can’t go back. That person, the one you were before cancer, doesn’t exist anymore. That relationship, the one you had before diagnosis, doesn’t exist anymore. That connection, once so strong, started to fray when cancer snuck into your lives and eventually, it snapped.

So now what?

Well – one of you realizes it a lot sooner than the other, and he makes the difficult decision to walk away. (One of you would’ve, eventually.) So now he’s gone physically, but ultimately he was gone emotionally – both of you were – long before.

But getting back to the beginning of this post –  we’re still wired for connection. So now what? I don’t have a person anymore. I’m lost and scared all over again, maybe even more lost and scared than I was on the day we sat in the doctor’s office and heard “you have cancer.” Because then, it was us vs. the world. Suddenly, it’s just me.

I’m still there, sometimes – lost and scared. November is a tough month – it would’ve been our 11th “dating” anniversary (and we celebrated every year) on the 7th, and we’re coming up on five years since diagnosis on the 26th. Some people might wonder why I can’t just “get over” these dates. Some day I might, but they’re a big part of my life story so it’s okay if I don’t, either.

This isn’t my first November since our connection snapped – it’s my second. But last year I was still in survival mode and I didn’t have time to register any of the feelings that came up. Not really. I just kept going. Honestly, if I would’ve stopped, I probably would’ve just not started again.

This November, I’ve mostly learned to lean into this new version of me and realize that this is probably who I was always meant to be, instead of blaming it for the dissolution of my marriage and the loss of “my person”. This November, I feel a lot more authentic than I have in a long time. I’m learning to trust my intuition and inner guidance system. I say yes to things (and people) that make me happy, and (try to) say no to things (and people) that don’t. I try to stick around the people who make me feel like it’s safe to express myself fully. I’m not for everyone, and I know that. but the fact that these people exist reminds me that there are people who I AM for. We are wired for connection, and we find it eventually.

But sometimes, the loneliness sneaks up. When the days are short and it gets dark early and it’s cold and you’re tired, even after your “person” has been gone for over a year, you’d still sometimes do anything to come home after work and have him sitting in the same chair, making you want to pull your hair out because the house is a mess and the dogs are hyper and he’s clearly done nothing all day long (or, on a good day, he’d have supper made) – but he’s there, there’s a presence in the house besides your own. Because we’re wired for connection, for presence, to be around other people, even if it’s to just sit in companionable silence.

All of that said, the dissolution of my marriage taught me (among other things) that it’s not okay to settle just to have someone there. I promised myself I would never do lukewarm, ever again. So I hold onto that when the blues of November sneak up on me.

If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. Even in November. Perhaps especially in November.

Anyway, I’m mostly better now, but mama said there’d be days like this.

 

 

 

 

 

A gentle nudge from the Universe

It’s been a long time!

I stepped back from this blog on purpose – it was a calculated move that I hoped would help me step back from the world of cancer in general, and begin the process of finding out who I am without the label of ‘cancer survivor’ or the weight of my past experiences.

How has that been going? Well, some days are easier than others. It’s a delicate balance, really – honouring where I’ve been without believing it to be intrinsically tied to where I am now. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not.

I think that’s probably normal. I’ll never forget entirely – how can you when you have permanent blue dots on your chest and sides? 🙂 In all seriousness, though – you can’t forget a trauma like that, and you can’t deny that it’s shaped, at least in part, of who you are today. But as I mentioned the last time I wrote (so many months ago) – it’s time to move on from those experiences. I want to be able to be where I am without comparing directly to where I was. I want to be able to not have to say “this is where I came from” to be proud of where I am now.

But I won’t lie – that has been my biggest struggle. I often wonder, ‘is it enough to just be proud of where I’ve gotten to, or will I always have to look back at where I was to justify that pride?’

I recently celebrated my three year end-of-chemo-versary, and honestly wrestled with whether or not to mark it. Because I really do want to just be proud of where I am. I don’t want to look back anymore, but my inner critic says ‘where you are is very, very averageUNLESS you take into account where you came from.’ So, I keep taking into account where I came from, because without that experience, I really don’t believe I am enough.

(That’s deep. And a bit sad. But also true. And I don’t write it for pity, or for anyone to say ‘you’re wrong!’ because I don’t need anyone else to tell me I’m enough. I need to believe it myself, and it’s a long, long process.)

So, that is the see-saw I’ve been on since I last wrote. Trying to find my self-worth without this experience. Trying to accept and really believe that where I am is not only acceptable, it’s exactly where I should be – regardless of where I came from.

Today I got a call from the cancer clinic regarding my appointment scheduled for mid May. They moved it – not an uncommon thing. But I also learned that my regular (very, very loved) oncologist is reducing his patient load, and as a result, won’t be seeing young adults anymore. I’ve been transitioned to a new doctor, and I’ll see him at my appointment, instead.

I won’t even lie to you – I was initially crushed by this news. Like I said, the good doc is so loved. All you have to do is read back in this blog to know how well he treated me and how safe I felt under his care.

I have no history with this new doctor, and honestly, I’ll probably only see him once before being transferred to someone in the clinic who isn’t seeing patients in active treatment anymore.

I’m being forced to move on, whether I like it or not.

You can always count on the Universe to respond to what you put out. I guess I’ve (finally) been putting out that I really, truly do want to move on and find the person that I am without the experience of cancer.

I can now see that was hard (maybe impossible) to do that when I honestly looked forward to visits with the good doc. So – the Universe just removed those visits.

Gentle nudges or huge, life altering experiences encased in two minute phone calls – the Universe will give you what you want if you really want it.

 

 

 

 

 

anxiety, round ilostcount

Have you ever played Donkey Kong Country? You know, the video game? Yes? Okay. Think about that one level, the mine cart one – where you’re hurtling along this track in an old abandoned building and there’s pieces missing and weird hills – you pick up speed when you go down them, but you don’t seem to slow down when you go up them. So by the end you’re just going FASTER and FASTER, and you’re wildly attempting to jump over these holes in the track so you don’t die, but eventually you get to the end and you can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief because YOU’RE SAFE.

That’s how it feels to get home at the end of the day lately. Like the whole day is enshrouded in this dark, foreboding, danger-is-looming feeling and I keep trying to go faster and faster to get away from it but I can’t until I’m finally at home, safe, with my phone turned on ‘do not disturb’ so that I can basically shut the world out.

There’s no real reason for this; at least none that I can easily determine. I’m still doing my ‘regular’ things, like going to the gym in the morning and going to work all day, but as the day carries on my anxiety gets higher and higher (just like how you get going faster and faster in that stupid mine cart level) and I just keep telling myself ‘x hours til home’ ‘x hours til home’ because home is safe.

It’s Friday today and I honestly considered cancelling everything I had planned for this weekend (and I’m still considering it) because it feels much SAFER to just stay home for 48+ hours. I hate that I’m in this mindset, and I even moreso hate that I can’t figure out what the trigger has been.

All I know is that I can’t wait to go home. Home = safe.

 

 

 

 

 

An update

My PET scan was, not surprisingly, CLEAR.

The good doc was kind but firm when he said, “at this stage, we aren’t expecting to see anything lymphoma related. We didn’t need to do that scan.”

And I realize he’s right. As I stated in my last post, I need to step back from the experience of cancer, to set some new goals that are in no way related to ‘what I went through.’ I need to stop viewing myself through the lens of what happened and start viewing myself and my life through the lens of what is currently happening. To start accepting accomplishments as ‘I did this thing and it was great’ not instead of ‘I  had cancer, so it’s really great that I managed to do this thing’, and setbacks as ‘this is what is currently happening, how will I work through it’ instead of ‘this bad thing is probably happening to me because I had cancer… /long pause/ … how do I work through it?’

 

I may or may not step back from this blog, but if I don’t – my posts will change dramatically. It’s okay if you don’t want to follow along as I find this new, new me. (Again, yup. No longer viewing myself as ‘post cancer’ me, just ‘me’.) Naturally, there will still be the occasional cancer-related thought (so potentially a post) – it’s intrinsically changed who I am as a person, and that experience will forever be a part of me. I just don’t want it to be the biggest part anymore. I want to relegate it to just that, an experience.

 

I’ll leave you with the Facebook post I wrote after receiving the news.

 

today, sitting in the cancer clinic waiting room, I felt like I didn’t belong. This shift may SEEM small, but it’s actually so. so. huge. I knew, then, feeling that feeling, that it meant it’s time to start moving on from the last three years.

Three years ago almost to the day, my entire life was uprooted and changed in an instant. I had to shift my entire focus to literally surviving, which meant I was in fight or flight mode, constantly. And if I’m honest, I’ve stayed there for the greater part of the last three years because it became safe. It became the new normal. I have spent three years waiting for the second shoe to drop, never planning anything further than a week in advance, always finding ways to self-sabotage any progress I was making because I really didn’t believe that it was safe to move forward, that I was safe, period.

Did you know that I still have my radiation mask and my wig? I still have a medicine cabinet full of Zofran and Ranitidine (chemo standbys). Most people can’t wait to get rid of that shit. Not me – constantly being in fight or flight meant I needed to hang onto them. They were security measures against what could – more likely in my mind, would – happen again. I was convinced as soon as I let myself relax, I’d be blindsided. So the solution was just to never relax.

Today, I finally feel the beginning of safe. I have a long road ahead of me to finally let go, to accept that what happened, happened, and is in the past, to let myself RELAX and know that I AM okay, physically and mentally. But I also have an amazing support system – one that a large part of wasn’t in place three years ago -, tools that I’ve built over months of personal development and self reflection, and the knowledge that it’s time. It’s so far past time.

Thank you for all the love and support over the last three years. Today we close the book on cancer – for real, this time – and open it to A BRAND NEW adventure, and I can’t wait to see where I go from here. 

the importance of moving on

Yesterday I – finally – had the PET scan that was a follow-up from the whole chest pain issue in July.

In the past, I’ve laid on the table and worried. I’ve made bargains with God or just simply begged for everything to be okay. Yesterday did not go that way.

Instead, I laid there almost asleep. I was super relaxed. The only actual thought I had was, ‘if this is negative, I need to find a way to put all of this behind me.’ But that’s the best thought I’ve had about cancer in a long, long time.

It’s simple really: I can’t keep living my life with the shadow of what happened almost three years ago obscuring everything that’s happening in the now.  It doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve anyone in my life, really, but it especially doesn’t serve me. Lately I’ve really been focusing on trying to let go of things that aren’t helping me to become a better, happier person – and living my entire life, whether it’s consciously or not, with the over-arching theme of ‘I had cancer’ is no longer serving me.

I talked to my coach at the gym about it this morning, just briefly. We talked about how it’s very easy to use thoughts of ‘what once happened’ as a justification for being negative, in the now. That’s not what I want for myself.  During our conversation, he said, ‘how will you put it behind you?’

I said, ‘I don’t know yet’ – but that’s maybe not quite right. I have a few ideas.

  • I need to stop giving cancer and everything related to it a platform in my life – whether it be on social media or just in my every day conversations or interactions. It happened. It has passed. I also was born – I don’t talk about it every day. It happened and has passed. It’s time to talk – and think – about the now – who I am now, what I love now, what I do now. Cancer changed me, sure, but it’s no longer an active participant in my life and thus I need to stop treating it like it is. This will probably mean doing some unfollowing on social media, and honestly probably less posting on this blog, too – even though it’s been a real labour of love, and it’s helped me feel better countless times, at this moment, I need to step back from it and get to living in the now. (I’m not done with it, and I will be back! Eventually.)
  • Just as my coach said this morning – and he didn’t direct it at me, but the sentiment is something that resonated strongly with me – I need to stop using what happened in the past as an excuse to be negative in the now. I do this in a lot of ways. For example: ‘Well, I’m allowed to be an anxious piece of shit because man, I have been through a lot.‘  Ok, maybe that’s true. But that doesn’t mean I get a free pass from working on overcoming that anxiety. It doesn’t have to be a part of me.  I am actively making a choice to allow it to consume me, much in the way that I actively made a choice to allow cancer to consume every part of my life 2.5 years ago.  (And to a lesser extent, continuing to do so today.)
  • Stop assuming that every little health issue – or non-issue, like being tired (everyone is tired, we’re adults, it’s basically part of the condition) has to do with cancer, or is a delayed side effect from it.  This isn’t even logical. Why would I be getting side effects now? Clearly I’ll continue to look after myself, but I need to stop pulling the cancer card‘ so to speak.
  • Start actually making plans for the future and not finding ways to self-sabotage them and or cancel them at the last minute ‘just in case‘. Just in case what? I don’t not make plans (double negative, I know) in case I get hit by a bus and can’t make them, and that’s just as likely. (ie. not very.)

 

Aaand the last point, which might seem way crazy, but…

  • I’ve been realizing lately that I may be holding on because I have this thought that what I went through wasn’t enough. Like maybe I felt like I deserved more difficulties? I’ve talked about it before – how I only had 4 cycles of chemo, and 10 optional radiation treatments. I didn’t have stem cell transplant, or surgery. I don’t have any lasting scars. Overall the process between diagnosis and remission was six months out of my entire life. So I look at what I went through and think ‘fuck, you have no right to complain.’ So maybe I’m still trying to justify to myself, to come up with things that say you did go through a lot!’ if that makes sense.  For example, well, now I’m dealing with lifelong anxiety!’ So I’m actively working on letting that thought go. Honestly I write it down daily: ‘I release the thought that what I went through was not enough.’

I’m sure there are other ways that I’ve been allowing cancer to control my life, but this is the list that I came up with off the top of my head this morning. There might be more work that needs to be done – in that, I know what I have to do but if I have trouble with it, maybe I need to seek some outside help with it. Whatever it takes, really, because it is past time.

I don’t mean that I’ll never think about cancer again – I know that`s basically impossible.

Obviously I will update when I get the results from the PET, but I just wanted to get these thoughts down.

things my anxiety tells me

sometimes, my anxiety tells me that when i’m sharing my thoughts, i’m being dramatic or begging for attention.

me: reads something i can relate to about scanxiety. (anxiety before a scan/results). posts it on social media, with a somewhat long explanation about said scanxiety – because we’re six days out of from my “making sure everything is still okay” PET scan and so the scanxiety is pretty real.

my anxiety: whoaaa, there – that’s a lot of dramatic words. you realize you’re coming off as a drama queen, like you need everyone to feed into your ridiculous need for attention?

me: that’s not …. how i meant it. i’m just sharing for awareness.

my anxiety: awareness of what? do you really think that people need to know what scanxiety feels like? either they already do and you’re probably just making them feel worse, or they don’t, and it’s irrelevant in their lives.

me: …. well, it makes me feel better to share my thoughts, and it’s difficult to verbalize them, so this is how i do it, most of the time.

my anxiety: no, i’m pretty sure you’re just having a pity party for one and looking for a way to somehow make every conversation in the next six days about you – or you’re just being dramatic af. deep down you know that scan will be clean.

me: …..

i have no comeback for you, anxiety. you’re right. it probably will be clean. i’d probably be having a lot more symptoms if it wasn’t. so thanks for making me feel like an attention seeking hypochondriac, i guess.

my anxiety: good, i enjoy winning arguments. but just to make my point really clear, i’m now going to raise your heart rate and just make you generally feel like a pile of shit, physically.  just so you REALLY KNOW who’s in charge here.

me: ….

 

where’s those coping skills when you need them? but perhaps more importantly – why the fuck are you like this, self?

 

 

 

 

the changing of the seasons

It’s gotten colder here in the last few days – this morning I could see my breath when I stepped outside.  The days are shorter – it’s dark when I leave for CrossFit and it’s dark when I come out an hour or so later. The sun is fully down before 7:30 – in fact it’s probably fully down by 7; but I haven’t paid that much attention.

All of this to say – winter is coming. I’ve been feeling a little blue, kind of sluggish, and like most of my positivity is forced. Perhaps “melancholic” is the word I’m looking for. (Defined as “feeling or expressing a pensive sadness”.)

Isn’t that poetic – season-induced melancholy? Well – it’s not really about the season, although I’m certain that the reduced daylight isn’t really doing wonders for my current mental state. It’s more that no matter how hard I try to forget about what happened as the weather cooled and the days got shorter turned three years ago, I just can’t.

You already know the story. Toward the end of October 2014, a second lump popped up right beside the first one (initially appearing in August 2014, but was able to be felt by June), and the first one seemed to double in size. It felt like it happened over night, and for the first time since the whole thing started, I really had some sort of urgency about figuring out what exactly the fuck was going on in my body. One lump I could explain away – two and a huge growth spurt overnight, I could not.

Thus began my (rather long) period of formally being diagnosed with the Hodge. First there was the fine needle biopsy. Then there was the false negative, followed by earth shattering positive. Then there was the need for confirmation via a surgical biopsy, which led to that stupid doctor in the ER who said that he didn’t want to give me false hope but ‘if they were requesting a surgical biopsy they must have doubts about the results of the fine needle.’ He was wrong, and the confirmation biopsy did just that – confirmed what we already knew.

Then I met with the good doc, we did the necessary procedures for staging, and we (I say we, clearly I mean “I”) started chemo in January. It seems likely that we would’ve started in December but I rather adamantly said that I’d had a trip planned for months and I needed to take it. He must’ve known that a few more weeks wouldn’t make that much of a difference, so he let me go, and we started chemo the Friday after I got back.

I remember all the dates. I remember most of the conversations. Mostly, though, I remember the feelings. And so when the weather starts to turn, it’s easy to let myself get sucked back into that time.

I’ve come so far since that day – I’m arguably almost an entirely new person. Physically and mentally I’m much stronger. I’ve developed fortitude; I’ve really worked on becoming a more positive person. If you met me today, you would have no idea of what I’ve been through.

But sometimes, especially this time of year, I still feel like the scared, small girl who had no idea how she would get through any of what was to come, who used anger as a way to cope. I worry about what will happen if I relapse a lot at this time of year. I worry if that fortitude is as strong as I think it is. I worry that I haven’t actually changed, at all, and I’m just one “bad thing” away from going back to how I was.

Not a lot of point to this, really – just some thoughts. Do we ever really change? Is permanent personality changing possible? Can you develop into a new person? Do people who met me after cancer see what I (hope) I am, or am I actually still the exact same person and I’m kidding myself?

And why do I have such a great memory for trauma and a shit memory for other things like ‘you put some Cheerios in your gym bag to eat after your work out’?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survivor’s Guilt, Part II

I’m being eaten alive from the inside out by guilt. It’s consuming me, making me feel physically ill.

The reasons for this guilt are not my story to tell, and thus I won’t go into them. I don’t have a right, nor do I wish to have one, to tell other people’s stories.

What I do have is this space to share my own, and right now, guilt is the central theme.

Why did I survive when so many others haven’t or won’t? Why did I have it so much easier than others? Why haven’t I, as a survivor, been able to find a way to use that status as a way to mitigate other people’s suffering? I feel guilty for being here and not living a remarkable life.

But it’s deeper, this time.

I keep thinking back to some of the comments I made while going through treatment. I would never make those comments now – I’ve grown up considerably in the last two and a half years, and I can now see where they were entirely inappropriate. But at the time, I saw them as a battle cry, a victory shout, and something positive in the midst of a lot of heavy, negative things.

I think back to how those comments were received by some people – not well. I think about how one comment in particular I received in return was (to my mind) basically being told that I should have survivor’s guilt.

Well – I didn’t then, I guess. It never occurred to me that I should, because I wasn’t even out of treatment yet. I had no idea how my future would unfold.

But I do now. And I keep turning those comments over and over in my head, wondering if I would’ve kept my somewhat immature mouth shut, if I would be feeling as bad now as I do. Most likely, yes. But maybe not.

There isn’t much of a point to this, I guess.  I’m just wondering why life is so unfair sometimes. Why our words feel so hollow and empty when we want to convey deep feelings of love, or compassion, or empathy, but can sting so sharply and leave such a lasting effect when we use them as vessels of anger and negativity.

Why I still wonder why I had cancer, why I still wonder why I beat cancer, why I can’t just move past that experience in my life, why I still struggle with so many feelings of unworthiness, why there are so many unanswered questions in life…. and how to make peace with never knowing the answers.

 

 

Post appointment update

I know I owe you all an update from last week’s appointment, so let’s get that out of the way!

So far – no news is good news.

My doctor fully admitted that he hadn’t planned on doing anything about July’s CT scan because it basically showed nothing. However, I decided that this was probably the time to just tell him straight up how I’m really feeling – which is to say, I’m still struggling with massive fatigue, and the chest pains are still on and off. (Likely a muscle, but apparently the possible lymphnodes in the scan were in the middle of my chest, not my axillary (under the armpit) nodes after all, and in my thinking – lumps are unlikely to appear in the middle of my chest.)

So not surprisingly, none of the physical check up turned anything up – no weird lumps, and my blood work has all levelled off to normal.

But because my doctor is the best – to be better safe than sorry, and to put my massively over-active mind to rest, he’s scheduled me for a PET scan.  Additionally, on my next blood panel he’ll take a deeper look at my thyroid functioning and other hormone levels to see if there’s a non-cancer related reason for the persistent fatigue.  He says, and is correct, that it’s somewhat concerning that we can’t find a reason for the symptoms – but we haven’t really looked much, either.

So – scans and blood work are up next. Not anticipating bad news (ie. recurrence; it seems highly unlikely), but hopefully some answers as to why I still have the energy level of an 85 year old woman when I’m 2.5 years out of treatment.

Fingers crossed that we can figure out a reason and I can get back to feeling “normal” – not that I have any idea what that feels like, any more. I’m just pretty sure that I shouldn’t need to be in bed by 8:30 p.m. every night, and require almost an entire day of sleeping every weekend.

 

 

 

 

the countdown begins

I’m about 48 hours (give or take 8) from my bumped-up oncologist appointment – the one to make sure those ‘slightly enlarged axillary lymphnodes’ have gone away.

All of the things you’d expect have been happening – I haven’t slept well, my appetite has plummeted, and I just generally feel a little blue. “In a funk” I’ve described it as.

But still, I’ve been trying to maintain a positive outlook – it’s probably nothing; it won’t be long until all of this is behind me again. I’ve tried to keep up on gratitude journaling and stay in a space of ‘things that make me feel good/at peace’.

So I was a little surprised last night when I was attempting a sleep meditation and a lot of negative emotions came up. It was a guided meditation – all of the ones I do are, I’m not good at just sitting there shutting my mind off – which entailed visualizing a blackboard. You were supposed to imagine writing all the thoughts/worries scurrying around in your mind onto the blackboard, and then wiping it clean – thus letting go of them and, in theory, being able to fall asleep.

My thought patterns started out kind of predictable: I hope I’m still healthy. I wish I could know for certain, all the time, that I am. I’m lonely without Evan. I’m envious of people who get to see/be with their spouse all the time. The dogs have been little devils today; that’s kind of annoying.

Suddenly, though, I started to get absolutely bombarded with all of these highly negative emotions/thoughts – which I suppose I’d been carrying around but trying to suppress because I don’t want to feel that way or have those thoughts.

You’re becoming unreliable – you say you’ll do something then only do half of it; or you procrastinate it until the very last second and hand in something that isn’t your best work.

You don’t even deserve the opportunities you’ve been given.

You’re a hypochondriac – I can’t believe you’re wasting your oncologist’s time over a pulled muscle. How do you not know your body by now? You went to the emergency room over nothing. You are stupid, aren’t you?

You know you’re kind of a shitty wife. Actually not even kind of. You are. Evan works so hard and hates leaving and all you do when he’s home is sleep and be tired and then guilt trip and complain when days off are over.

You do all of this selfish stuff – spending money on dumb shit like new shoes, or a fancy day planner, or fancy coffees, or needing ‘alone time’, or taking naps, or spending forever in the gym – under the guise of ‘self love’ and ‘self care’ – but really, it’s just you putting yourself first all the time. What makes you think you deserve that?

You’ve basically lost touch with someone you spent almost seven years being best friends with and told yourself it’s not your fault, it’s distance and changing interests – but it’s your fault. You’re a shitty friend.

You survived cancer and you’re wasting it. You were given this life for a reason and you can’t even figure out why or how to make your suffering have meaning.

On that note – how much suffering did you really do? You like to talk about how difficult it was but you had it good compared to most. You’re just being dramatic, aren’t you? You love being dramatic – something that you’ve totally judged other people for. So that makes you a hypocrite, as well.

By this point, clearly the visualization aspect of this ‘meditation’ was entirely lost. It was just words – thoughts coming at me angry and fast.

So I didn’t sleep well, clearly. I was up and down half the night, and I didn’t go to CrossFit this morning because I need more than 3 hours of sleep to function as a regular human. And now I’m left pondering what it is that I really need in my life, from myself, to finally put all of the negative emotions surrounding my self-worth to rest. I’ve read so many personal development books and I know that my thoughts are just stories I’m telling myself – they aren’t true one way or another. But I can’t seem to stop them from making me feel like shit.

So that’s where we’re at, 48 hours out. I’m hoping that all of this is just a manifestation of anxiety and I’ll feel better after the appointment, but I don’t know because like I said – I feel like I’m wasting my oncologist’s time.

I guess by writing this I was hoping to release some of those negative thoughts – the way that meditation was intended, but clearly failed when I stopped visualizing wiping the slate clean and just let myself sink into the abyss of shit. Whoops.