Saturday, November 3, 2012

Operation fuck kancer: Radiation done, now what?

On March 26, a surgeon sliced cancer out of my body. Seven months to the day later, I completed my final radiation treatment.

And now I feel lost, which is why it's taken me so long to write this post.

The "Yay, I'm done!" feeling faded quickly and has been replaced by "Now what?"

The physical scars

The treatments are done, but my skin is feeling battered under my arm where it has blistered along the scar where my lymph nodes were removed.

I was doing well everywhere else until a run last Sunday, when my bra strap rubbed the skin raw where the lymph nodes around the collar bone had been zapped. So no running for me now until my skin heals, which I'm not terribly happy about.

My friend Sharon, who is one of my running mates, suggested the stationary bike at the gym. Which I swear I'll do. Not relishing the thought of smelling everyone else's sweat, rather than the clean rain air.

Guess I am a runner now, eh?

The emotional scars

A lot of cancer warriors talk about the "new normal". I now get it. Life can never return to what it was pre-cancer.

While I don't miss feeling like a piece of crap after too many glasses of wine on a ladies' night, I do miss having the option of making myself feel like crap.

I don't miss being overweight, but I miss being able to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte without thinking I can feel a tumour pop up the moment the delectable beverage hits my lips.

I don't miss eating habits that make my stomach feel like it was full of cement, but I miss having a pre-made bowl of soup with my son when he's not feeling well without the guilt.

Welcome to the corner

I now feel like I've been painted into a corner by fear. I realized this after reading a lovely post by Heidi at Our House for Coffee this morning.

I'm so scared of making a bad decision which morphs into making several bad decisions. I'm scared of undoing the good habits I've worked hard to form over the last several months. I'm scared of getting cancer again, worse. I'm scared if I do have a recurrence, I'll blame myself and give up.

I don't know what to do to shake this fear. A bit of fear could keep me honest, yes. But too much is suffocating.


  1. TOTALLY! This is exactly how it is! Thanks for the shout out. We have to find that balance of living free with living responsibly. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Heidi. The whole balance thing is tough. I guess I just keep trying for it, right? On the plus side, my stomach felt awful an hour after the latte, so it will be easier for me to avoid those now!

  2. You went to war and now you're home. Be gentle with yourself, keep writing, keep walking if not running :)
    Ah, isn't it the best to get assvice from someone who's never been there. But I can be here, and I can listen.

    1. Lol, totally not assvice (though I love that term, may have to steal it). Listening is good, so thank you, Clara.

  3. Hi Lori, hopped over here from ChemoBabe's blog and ever so glad I did. I hope you are doing well as can be; however, concerned since you have not been on your blog the month of December. I do not know you, yet I miss you already. Sending all my love on the wings of a desert sparrow, Deborah

    1. Hi Deborah, thank you for the nudge. I haven't blogged in a while because I'm a bit overwhelmed with the whole "new normal" thing. But I really should. I think it will lessen the overwhelming feelings. Much love back at you, Lori