Friday, May 29, 2020

Processing emotions

It's almost the end of May and I'm feeling emotional. It seems this has happened every year for the past five years. As it draws closer to June 6, the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I start to feel overwhelmed. You'd think those feelings would have dissipated by now, but they haven't.

Breast cancer isn't a once and done kind of thing. It's a life long trauma. Daily I deal with some sort of post cancer PTSD. Whether it's overwhelming anxiety or debilitation insomnia, the after effects of cancer are always with me.

I've done my best to process things on my own. When I feel overcome with emotion, I talk it out either with myself or one of my children. I know it's not healthy to keep things inside but I don't want to seek professional help. Surely, I can handle this on my own.

Cancer does a number on a person. It comes in like a wrecking ball and destroys a life. The pieces have to be slowly put back together but they don't always fit properly and no matter how hard a person tries, there will always be shattered or missing pieces that can never fit back into the puzzle.

I've been working on a book chronicling my breast cancer story. I had hoped to have had it completed before now but life has gotten in the way. I'm thankful I thought to blog each day from diagnosis forward otherwise, many of my thoughts and feelings would have been lost by now. As I re-read those posts and relive each moment, I find myself working through a variety of feelings.

I'm still dealing with self esteem issues and body image issues. I'm still dealing with feelings of grief and loss. I'm still dealing with the lack of physical intimacy between my husband and I and all of those things hurt.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if cancer had never come into it. What would I have done? How would I have felt? Would I have been stronger or weaker than I am today? As I ponder those thoughts, I think I have to be grateful to cancer for so many things even though, I still hate it with all my heart.

But cancer has been a good teacher. It's caused me to focus on daily gratitude. It's caused me to live in the moment. It's caused me not to take a thing for granted.

So even though the emotional stress can be consuming, I'm still here and I'm still working through it. I'm extending myself grace and I'm moving forward. Daily I fight to survive. I.AM.STILL.HERE. I'm still standing!

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