Thursday, March 27, 2008

notes from the bottom of the well

oh, man. i feel like i fell down a well. for lack of a better term, i'll call it the well of despair. i hesitate to even write this post, for i fear you all are so happy for me completing the radiation treatment that this will just be a big bucket of cold water. i'm sorry. i cannot be the ray of sunshine right now.

i have to confess. i wrote my celebration post before i left for the hospital on wednesday. and actually, my final treatment went fine. i brought milkshakes to my techs and we hugged goodbye. i walked out of there feeling like it was the end scene in a very strange dream. driving down the hill from the hospital, i felt good enough that i did something silly.

what i should have done was something very sweet and gentle, like a pedicure.

instead, what i did ended up feeling like 100 bad days piled on top of one another. i went to the speciality lingerie store and got fitted for my prosthesis and bras. my chest is healed enough to at least try them on, if not wear a real bra all day long. i thought it would be good, to start getting back to normal.

normal. what a shitty term. there is no normal. i am never going to have back my body, like it was.

i spent a painful hour standing topless in front of a full length mirror, trying on hideous bras. then i drove home through heavy rain feeling both numb and rubbed raw. when i got home, i turned off my phones and crawled into bed. i haven't wanted to get up yet. i cried more bitter tears in the past day than the last four months combined. i think i've been focused so much on having a good attitude and finding the little blessings along the way that i forgot to grieve. or maybe, it was just too scary to do until now, after treatment.

i can't fully explain it at this moment, i am so deep in grief.

i'll write in more detail soon.

10 comments:

rachel d said...

I'm sure you have felt a lot of pressure to feel cheerful. To celebrate as you end treatment. But (and this analogy sucks but its all I've got) ending treatment is like standing in the ruble after a war.... for a long time there was all this fighting...trying to win something that can't be seen.... and then the battle is over and for the first time you look around and see what is left. Some buildings are gone... some are forever changed. The body after cancer treatment is the same. Now that treatment is over you can see your body. It is ok to grieve. To feel sad. Once the "fighting" part is done there is this release. Let the release happen... feel sad... take in the extremeness of the experience.... but get back to life.... Not normalcy.... just a life that makes you happy.

feel better

Tay said...

thanks, rachel! that analogy is actually quite helpful. i really appreciate your compassion and understanding...

Sondra said...

Oh, Tay, grief comes at it's own strange times. Allow it to sweep over you. Flow with it... You never have to be cheery for us. We're with you what ever the feeling you have. Cry, pull the covers over your head, scream, yell, you have lost something in this process, greive the loss. And as Rachel says, "get back to life...Not normalcy...just a life that makes you happy."

Catherine Chandler said...

Grief is a big part of this. Grief is a part of any loss, be it a family member, friend, home, or part of yourself (physically or emotionally). Give yourself time. You are processing a great deal right now, and it is absolutely necessary to give yourself the time to do that. Cry. Scream. Laugh hysterically. Feel the anger. Sit in peace. Wonder. I cry for a month every year (its on my blog), and if anyone tried to take that away from me I'd probably punch them :) My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Tay - my heart broke when I read your entry. So much grief pouring out of you at one time is exhausting. I'm proud of you for taking care of YOU, feeling the feelings, and expressing them honestly.

littlebear's first post-sx experience at the bra store was similar to what you described. It certainly was a part of the journey we hadn't anticipated being quite so awful. I'm sure that doesn't do anything to ease your pain, nor is it supposed to. I think I just wanted you to know you are not alone.

You are right - there is no normal. An analogy that we used to describe life post-BC is "back to your regularly scheduled programming on a different channel". Its a "new normal", nothing will ever be the same again. Grieving for What Used To Be is OK, healthy, and productive. We grieve with you.

Holding you in love and light,

ramonajane

Marian said...

oh my, dear Tay. That sounds really tough. Your friends have already said it here...
rachel's analogy seems poignantly perfect. Standing in the rubble, so much gone. At some point you'll start sifting through it and find the things there that you'll make jewelry out of. You won't be able to help it...it's just what you do.
I'm sending love.
~marian

Tay said...

thankyou, dear friends for your sweetness and comforting words. it means the world to me that i can spill out the sadness here.

venturegirl said...

Tay, my heart goes out to you. There is nothing quite like showing up for an experience that you think will move you forward and instead getting slapped in the face by it. I know this may not help right now - but those of us who know and love you share your grief and still think your physical form is just as beautiful as before. By the way ... congratulations on your nomination for 2007 best of blog award. I hope you will be able to celebrate that soon and thank you for sharing your life with us.
Much love.

salmonpoetry said...

oh Tay, sorry to hear you are in despair. it is probably totally normal, all your energy was devoted to getting through the treatment, and now that is over the reality is right in front of you. life comes in waves. it can be so hard when you are down under. grieve, give yourself time to get used to the shifts. if there is one thing that fails to change in life, it is that life changes. take care of yourself and know that you will find your way through to the other side of this...

d.Sharp said...

Tay, this must be incredibly tough. Please know that so many care for you and please take care as you move through grief. Blessings.