Every time I get anxious since cancer shifted my world, I either numb by doing depressing cancer research (what will _____ do to me, side effects from ____, etc.) or by watching lots of Grey’s Anatomy or Schitt’s Creek, depending on my mood.
Today it was 5 hours of Grey’s. I never watched it live, so I’m watching it on Netflix, and today was the end of season 6, from like 15 years ago. So I’m not spoiling or giving anything away. The staff goes through an armed shooter trauma where many people are killed. Dr. Bailey, a few episodes later, says to a patient that’s had some shit (unrelated to the shooting) it’s OK to NOT BE OK.” She’s the only person that seems to be saying it’s ok to be messed up. It’s an ice breaker. And a major relief.
I’d been sitting alone at home all weekend except for dinner with the guys Fri + Sat, so I’d had plenty of time to think. But I was avoiding thinking. Every time I let my mind wander I thought about my body. About my shriveled and burned boob. How it is very foreign and odd and endlessly depressing. About the weight I gained in quarantine that has not gone away no matter what I have done, and then I thought about the possible/probable weight gain from my upcoming cancer meds.
I was anxious and jittery and didn’t know what to do with my energy. I watched a few movies and read for a few hours but I just could not grasp what was bugging me. So I numbed with something familiar enough that I could lie on the couch and let other people’s medical dramas float around me.
When I heard the actor say that I realized what was up.
I had not let myself cry about this shitty hand I’ve been dealt. The tears I’ve shed so far were from physical pain or from the diagnosis or the making hard decisions or the stress of the never ending procedures and treatments. This week I talk to my medical oncologist about my oral chemo. I’m not looking forward to the drug-it has a million (it seems) side effects for a small percentage of benefit. But if the percentage of benefit keeps you alive, well, it’s worth it—I hope. If my quality of life goes down the pipes I reserve the right to say no more.
So I cried. My dog laid her head on my lap. I cried so much I couldn’t see for a few minutes after.
I’m mad. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m in mourning. (Truly.)
I look at my naked body every day and simultaneously love it for hanging in there, and am horrified by what has been done to it. It will never be what it was. And maybe it will something more?
I don’t know. I do know this is hard.
And it’s ok to NOT BE OK.
We can do hard things.
And I’m ready for some easy ones.