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Oct 11, 2021 03:11PM
I am approaching the end of a long treatment road (still have another surgery at the end of this month and then start hormone therapy but I did 2 surgeries, chemo - yuck - then radiation too) and I totally get what you're saying about getting used to appointments and seeing people and then it all suddenly stops/slows down. Then, we're left alone in our heads and hearts in the aftermath. It's very intense.
After so many, many weeks of daily radiation appointments (after chemo), I actually took a few days to believe that I didn't have a doc appointment or somewhere I had to be every day. I really, genuinely couldn't believe it. There is still more ahead, but it's not the same as the intensity/immensity of everything we've just been through over months and months etc.
Also: friends can be lovely (or sometimes not), but omg so many of my friends - very good people - want to celebrate and be DONE with this. Of course, I'd love to be done with cancer, lol, but there is just no being "done" with it the way they think. Even the most loving, supportive people are so over it, so ready to have me "move on" - I could go on and on about the things people have said along the way - all with "good intentions." Also: so many people have let so many of us down during this horrible nightmarish time in our lives. I get it. I've been stunned by some things people have said and done - and also, I've tried to be forgiving - with some, not all - because lots of people have absolutely no clue whatsoever about what to say or do when someone they know is diagnosed and treated for cancer and it just keeps going on and on. It's such a rough road we are on - on so many levels.
I don't know if you listen to podcasts or if you read, but one podcast series really has helped me navigate all of this difficult emotional stuff. The podcast is called "Everything Happens" by Kate Bowler and I just read her newly released book "No Cure for Being Human and other truths I need to hear" I wish I had underlined the pages where she talks about this very issue - how it feels when you are at the end of treatment. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 4 years ago and she's still alive (!) and she's a professor at Duke School of Divinity. She was in her late 30's at diagnosis. She does have an Episcopal perspective, although I'm not religious or Episcopal and I have still found that her point of view resonates with me deeply. Here is a link to her podcasts in case you might consider listening (I found them so soothing, truly): https://katebowler.com/podcasts/
The first 2 I listened to - the best two in my opinion are called "Suleika Jaouad: The Kingdom of the Sick (part 1) and "Suleika Jaouad: You are Not The Bad Thing (Part 2)" and the 3rd one I loved was "Debunking Everything Happens for a Reason with Kelly Corrigan". If you're not a podcast person, you can go onto that link and click the podcasts you want to listen to right there on the website.
Anyway, this is all to say: omg you've been through something so horrid, so frightening, so lonely and isolating - all during covid - and it makes so much sense to me that you might be anxious and depressed as you face not seeing docs/medical people as much - as you face sitting at home with the reality and shock of what has happened to your body and life in the past year. In a chemo support group a few months ago, someone said something like "we cannot delegate this" - it just hit me so hard. We have no choice - we have to do this stuff all by ourselves, even if we have people around us who love us, we have to endure all of it - in our bodies and minds and hearts - alone - on some profoundly scary and sad level.
So please know: as alone as you feel - you're not alone. It's awful, what you've / we've been through and continue to endure. I do not have any idea what it will feel like to be done with my last surgery and to be on the hormone therapy path and to not be seeing docs constantly, but it feels strange to think about, and scary in some ways. I have a lot of support and I still feel scared and sad a lot of the time.
Thinking of you as you struggle with this very difficult stuff. I do feel hopeful we'll all make it to a place of less anxiety - but it is anxiety-provoking, isn't it.
Hugs to you wherever you are (socially distanced, safe ones, of course LOL)