Feeling Lost

by Val

Man have I been struggling this week. I have seen others online say they are struggling too. In the past I would’ve hearted it, gave them a keep your head up and moved on to the next post. Not anymore. I see you and I’m struggling too. You aren’t alone. 

Do you know what a difference it makes for someone to understand they are not alone? Or what they feel is not unusual? I don’t know how COVID would be affecting me if I wasn’t also doing this fight. I have all these emotions going on inside bumping into each other and I don’t know if they are COVID or Cancer emotions. 

Even before Tuesday I was starting to feel lost. I was feeling sad that my routine was ending. I felt like “Now what?”. After that first time of experiencing bone pain if you asked me how the end of chemo would feel, lost is not what I would have said then. 

But here I am lost. Thankfully someone reached out  without even knowing how I was feeling and said those important words, “This is normal. I felt this way too.” and it helped. It didn’t take away the lost feeling, but it did alleviate some worry about what was wrong with me.

One worry gone is good right now. I have had moments of dealing with anxiety in the past. I was in college the first time I had a panic attack, full blown breathing into a paper bag in the doctor’s office. Since then I’ve learned ways to cope. There are times that I have felt a very jittery feeling and an overwhelming need to cry come over me. Like there is too much energy inside and I need to get it out. There is not always an identifiable trigger other than maybe hormones. When I was first diagnosed and someone mentioned that the heavy feeling on my chest could be anxiety it seemed obvious then. So anxiety has been visiting me off and on since September. 

This week I feel like I’ve been teetering. My thoughts have been irrational and my fear ridiculous. I actually described an image I have of COVID being a little green monster (probably like that Muccinex character) out there trying to get us. Like he is running around playing tag. I officially started sheltering on 3/15 but I’ve been socially distancing for quiet some time. I use to think this would be easy but it’s gotten to me. I know I’m an introvert but as one of my friends said even introverts need people. The majority of my people interactions (via phone) outside of Carl has been focused on COVID. Not helpful in quieting that little Muccinex image.

After sharing all this with Carl last night he made a helpful observation. I need a focus. I need a place to put all this energy. It was focused on getting through chemo. So even though I was working with COVID stuff I still had a bigger focus of just getting through chemo. Well I’ve just gotten through chemo and now I need the what next. I have plenty of work things that could be my what next. And understand that when I say what’s next I mean what is the next thing I will throw my everything into. Several times in the past work has been my what next. Work was my what’s next back in August. And after I finished that big what next I was diagnosed and cancer became my what’s next. 

I love my work but I know right now it cannot be my all consuming what next. It’s a part of my to-do but it can’t be my consumption. I think my what next needs to be balance. Can you be all consuming in balance? 

I’m rambling and I don’t even know how to wrap this. You are not alone if you are feeling lost or overcome at times with worries. You aren’t alone if you are feeling fear that was grounded logically in reasonable thought but is teetering into ridiculous Muccinex monsters. You aren’t alone if you are missing loved ones so much it brings instant tears. You aren’t alone if worry about those loved ones also brings those tears.

This too shall pass. I’ve repeated that to myself so many times over the last 6 months and it’s been true then, it’s true now. For me, it will pass and in the meantime I will grow. 

So that’s mentally how I’m doing…physically, the neuropathy has increased in my hands and feet. It’s pretty annoying but manageable. Bone/joint pain is present but hoping it follows the past patterns and today is it’s last bad day. Guess the side effects didn’t get the memo that chemo is done.

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