There is an enormous amount of release and relief that can be found simply by saying, "I am not OK. I need some help. I cannot live like this anymore."
Break-ups suck. Cancer sucks. The hormonal fluctuations caused by chemo-induced menopause suck. Chronic fatigue sucks. Put them all together and you've got yourself a perfect storm for going completely fruit loops.
The fact that I'm anxious and depressed right now is probably not surprising to anyone that has been within 15 feet of me in the last month My schedule is pretty chaotic with trying to fit exercise, eating right, working and getting to treatment in the 8-9 hours a day that I'm not completely wiped out. I've gained about ten pounds in weird places that make my body feel unbalanced and awkward. And I'm not sure what is more emotionally overwhelming: coping with being single again or wrapping my head around the idea of intimacy with a new person in a post-cancer world.
It took ten days of spontaneous, uncontrollable weeping and the return of the terrifying "pubic hair growing on my head" dreams before I decided to take the advice that I had so freely doled out to others.
"Go get some help. Talk to someone. You don't have to live like this."
Lucky for me, it only took one phone call and six hours of waiting before I was sitting in a counseling office in the hospital's cancer center. Admitting that I was having a problem getting a grip, and hearing back that that grip-lessness was not at all unusual for someone in my set of circumstances, was sweet relief.
Lucky for me, there is something that can be done about all of my grief and frustration. Some medication to help me cope for few months and a lot of talking to people who deal with people like me all of the time. Learn how to deal with the stress of scans and tests, the tedium of five years of hormone therapy and the awkwardness of talking about my disease with strangers that may someday want to see me naked. Ride my bike.
As of today, I am halfway done with radiation. My left boob is abnormally tan and the breast tissue is starting to harden, but my skin is still in pretty good condition. I'm using aloe vera on the area throughout the day and some emu oil at night. And I like that I have a medical excuse not to wear a bra.
I really like the ride to the hospital, now that I've got the logistics and timing dialed in. The ride is 16.8 miles round trip. Four miles of climbing each way. The climb through Washington Park and the Zoo in the way out is steeper, but beautiful. The climb along Hwy 26 coming back is exposed to the sun but the elevation gain is more gradual and gives me a chance to feel a sense of superiority over the afternoon traffic that is moving along more slowly than I am.
Finally, I am getting my hair back. Last weekend it was a mere five o'clock shadow under my scalp, but five days later my head is covered with a thick mix of both peach fuzz and real hair starters. I also have a bit of peach fuzz along my lash line and in my armpits. I'm four weeks out from chemo, so I expected to see something by now, but I've been surprised about how quickly it re-appeared.
As my physical self starts to regenerate, looks like its time to re-focus on my mental self.