It’s been a hard past few weeks for me. I have been horribly depressed. Not sad. Depressed. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the the following as indicators of depression. I’ve checked all that have applied to me.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood √
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism √
- Irritability √
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness √
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities √
- Decreased energy or fatigue √
- Moving or talking more slowly √
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions √
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping √
- Appetite and/or weight changes √
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
At this point in time, I have pretty good reason to be depressed. The world’s been pretty crappy for me and many others lately. So, in an effort to suck out some of this poison, I’m going to post a list acknowledging some of the shit I’m dealing with and feeling.
I’m out of active treatment.
All I have left is one more surgery for reconstruction and removal of my port. You’d think this would be a happy time. However, this is when anxiety and fear gets amped up. If I’m not actively fighting cancer, how can I prevent it from coming back? The answer is that I can’t. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope. Which is frustrating, scary, isolating, and depressing.
I had cancer two and a half times.
Let’s back it up. When I was 19, I had a Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove precancerous cells on my cervix. When I was 25, I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When I was 39, I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. I have now moved into another decade of life. Am I going to get cancer in my forties? At this point in time, I’m almost 100% sure that I’m going to get cancer again. I don’t have any genetic predisposition & I stopped smoking years ago, but that didn’t prevent me from getting cancer again. As no doctor can tell me how I got more than one cancer at a young-in-cancer-realm age, I do not feel reassured that my “odds are like everyone else.”
I started menstruating again.
This might make some women happy, but not me. I’m done having kids. My ovaries are closed for shop like a lake house in winter. I threw a slipcover on those suckers years ago. I spent a wonderful year of never getting my period and never missing it. I didn’t worry about supplies, what I was wearing, cramps, etc. And now, in two days, I have bleed through two pairs of pants.
My hair is not being a friend.
It has come back really curly. While I am excited to be able to have a ponytail again, this is an old woman’s hair style. I’m somewhere between Blanche and Sophia on the Golden Girls scale.
At this time, it is completely unmanageable. If I’m straight out of the shower, it’s okay. Any other time, I look like Bob Ross got paint in his hair and then fell asleep.
I have a stress pimple.
It is right in the middle of my chin. I’m stressing so hard my insides are boiling out of my body like lava.
I’m still fat.
My breasts are cattywampus right now.
They hang all askew. That will be fixed in the upcoming surgery. But right now, it drives me crazy. My nipples are like googly eyes that got stuck.
I’m dealing with a lot of shit.
I understand that there are many things that I am unable to control. At this moment, that feeling is a little overwhelming. I think that is some of the reason that I haven’t talked to the doctor yet. I need to feel some of this emotion right now. I need to acknowledge that this entire cancer thing sucked and it is okay that I feel that it sucked and that it continues to suck.