Wednesday, July 4, 2012

When the inside doesn't match the outside

Me in a hat that my husband thinks is "cancer-y".
Does it make it me look more cancer-y? And is that okay?
The last few weeks have been pretty krappy. Sorry, that's not a headline, I mean crappy.

The effects of chemo have been getting worse, of course coinciding with my return to work. Work is my escape. This, along with the fact that I work on contract so have no paid sick leave makes working both part of my healing, and a must.

I've already been off sick for a couple of days because of a sinus cold. My allergies are kicking my ass this week, and I have a nagging suspicion my sinuses are flaring up again as I write this. Added to personal stress that I won't elaborate (too much) on - let's just say pest control visited my home last week - and I've been an irrational, bitchy, paranoid, crybaby mess.

My first-world problem

But apparently, I don't look like a mess. And I'm wondering if that is part of the problem. My hair is gone, my brows sparse but fillable with makeup. My skin tone is good. (Now that I've put all this in writing, I'm going to wake up looking terrible tomorrow, right?)

Why looking okay is a problem

This probably sounds like a good issue to have. And I am grateful that right now, I could pass for a chick with a shaved head. But because I pass, it means people think I'm alright. And I'm most certainly not.

And because people think I'm alright, they're that much more shocked/scared/dumbfounded when I lose my shit. Because it appears to come out of left field. Cue the guilt.

I feel bad for losing my shit on unsuspecting people, particularly my husband. I feel bad for feeling like crap. I feel bad for not being able to stomach the healthy food I should be eating. I feel bad for getting blisters on my feet so damned easily that I can't even do the daily walks I was doing. I feel bad for not writing back to everyone who has sent me a greeting card.

Maybe if or when I start looking not so okay, I'll give myself permission to not feel okay.


  1. That's a kick in the pants. I so get what you mean though. It's like when you're emotionally damaged but pull yourself together for the greater good and someone says something and you burst into maybe if I just LOOKED like I was up all night crying then they wouldn't be shocked at me now.

    Regardless, you need to give yourself permission to not feel ok, even if you look ok. Maybe not to the masses, maybe not to Mac but to someone, anyone, you need to be free. You're going through A LOT, the treatment for your sickness just makes you more sick - how fucked up is that? Normally treatment = feel better, only this time it = feel worse.

    So I don't know but, it seems to be trying to keep up the act of feeling good when you don't, isn't doing you any favours. As for the guilt, drop it. No one is judging you for how you handle this, and you cannot be on all the time. You do what you do to make it through, everyone understands that that's all you've got to give.

    Hang in there. You're half way through!

    1. You know what I think my problem is? I confuse being positive with pretending I'm okay. I think sometimes it's a fine line. But now that I think about it, I can feel like crap and still be positive I'm going to ultimately get through this, right?

    2. I think that is a HUGE distinction. I think you can be positive "I am going to get through this, I am going to make it, we are going to be ok" while also saying "but I feel like shit right now".

      Being negative is wallowing and not knowing how to get out of it. Being negative is assuming you're the only person to go through this and have things this hard. You've proven that you don't feel or think that way. But knowing you're fighting the good fight along side others, and blindly accepting it as par for the course you have to deal quietly with aren't the same.

      You're allowed to feel like garbage, and even articulate it, you're just not allowed to let it consume you. How the treatment makes you FEEL at the moment is not how you APPROACH this kancer.

      Think about it this way, if Mac broke his arm would you expect him not to complain about the pain? No. You know it's going to heal up but damn it's going to suck for awhile getting there :D

  2. I agree with The Babe -- in fact, I can't think of another thing to add. I will repeat this part though: "You do what you do to make it through, everyone understands that that's all you've got to give."

    1. Thanks, Sharon (and "The Babe" - I like that).