Written July 13, 2014
I am not happy. I feel it in my bones, my skin, my breath. I am rattled, unsettled and anxious. My mind races uncontrollably like a toddler taking its first steps. I want to be content and filled with all the joys and wonders of life. I have survived cancer after all and I am alive, yet I am struggling. ‘Cancer free’ does not translate to fist pumps and cheering in my mind – it does however create deep pangs of emotion. I can’t seem to shake the shadow of cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery attacked the mutated cells, but what attacks the negative thoughts, the worry, the aches and pains?
I try hard to be appreciative and experience life as it is happening but it feels a bit tainted lately. I feel like I am on borrowed time. I want these thoughts and doubts crushed like a bug.
I am playing the ‘ testing waiting game’ again. I had a bone scan of my body and images of my left hip and upper spine on July 5. The aches in my body seem to be getting worse and after sharing this update with my oncology nurse she ordered the tests. It has been a long two weeks. The first week was waiting for the test to occur and thoughts would bubble up and weigh on my mind throughout the week, and I would push them out of my mind. Then the day of the testing arrived, my mind was racing. What if they find something? How could I deal with this again? The thought of having to be strong and fight again seemed daunting. The testing consisted of having isotopes injected into my body and then imaging conducted a few hours after the injection. Jon came with me, I could feel his worry, it was palpable. I couldn’t face his worry it was too much, I had to stay isolated in my own mind to cope.
I called Juravinski prior to the one-week turn around period I was given to receive the bone scan results. I was told my oncologist nurse was on vacation, and I would likely receive a call Monday with my results. Another 4 days of waiting required. I wanted to cry. Get it together, I thought. The results will be clear and I can exhale knowing my entire body is cancer free.
I received a call Tuesday morning July 15. The first thing I heard the nurse say was “You are Clear”. I could breathe again. She explained that the aches and pains were likely arthritic in nature, and mentioned that the aromatase inhibitors can create these side effects, but then she realized I was on Tamoxifen not an aromatase inhibitor. It could be the side effects of menopause or effects of chemotherapy. Although thrilled that my body showed no signs of cancer, I realized that this achiness is my new reality. I will now begin discussions with my physician with respect to arthritis and the physical and emotional impact of menopause. I thankfully am Cancer Free but I am not worry free. I still search for my Shavastna, my quiet mind.