Archive | November 24, 2018

Mental and emotional Pain

The depths of this dark, bottomless pit are unforgiving.  I keep falling, further and further down.  There is no end in sight.  I’m holding on as tight as I can but I’m slipping.  Slipping at a high rate of speed.   What do I do?  There is nothing to grab on to.  I’m trying soo hard, but I can’t.  

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My mind and my heart are so lost 😟   I’m definitely broken.  I feel like scattered autumn leaves with nowhere to go, blowing in all directions.    I know I am finally grieving and processing everything I have been through.   My doctor says she is going to get me back to where I was.  I really hope so.  I just can’t take this ‘feeling lost’ anymore.  I’m so afraid.  The fear of this impending doom is horrible.

Nov. 2 –  Today I feel so blah.  That’s nothing unusual but I feel super exhuasted.  Actually it’s that fatigue I’ve grown to hate so much.   Not sure if the side effects of radiation are catching up with me or the start of the new medication.   It doesn’t help that today is the anniversary that I lost my Pops.  I told myself this morning that I wasn’t gonna be sad, that today was gonna be a good day. But I miss my best friend so much.  Our talks and just hanging out.  Things, I feel, would be a lot easier to deal with if I had him here.  This nasty ordeal has had me longing for my parents like never before and the post traumatic stress makes it 10x harder.   

Today is day 2 of the medication.  I don’t feel a difference.  Yes, I know I just started it.  But if you’re like me, I want things to work yesterday.   I’m at the end of my rope, mentally, that I literally can’t wait for it to cycle and build up in my system.   I’m so afraid of the feelings I’ve been having.  My mind is so trapped, drowning.  I can’t breathe.   I can’t wait for Dominic to get home from school.  I don’t want to be by myself.   As much as I tried to not miss my Pops,  I was so sad and depressed, it even brought my son down.  It played over and over in my mind, the day we lost him, like a movie stuck on repeat.  I couldn’t turn it off.  My fragile mental state was at its very lowest.   Today was a very hard day.   

My aches and pains seem to be getting better by a millimeter.  Yeah, not much at all.   The pain in my knees is gone but unfortunately, it is everywhere else.  I think a lot of it settled in my wrists’, they really hurt, a lot.   I cancelled my upcoming physical therapy appointments cuz they were conflicting with my radiation appts.  Frankly, I lost interest in going to PT ever since she suggested that 6 week program she wanted to put me in.   I’m just tired.  Tired of going here and there.   Yes, I am a stubborn ass.  You’ll be happy to know that I am still doing all of my exercises at home that she had given me. 

 Nov. 3 –  weekly hair progress.  

3 months (exactly) post chemotherapy.   It’s thickening up. 

 

 

Guess what?  I only have 7 more radiation treatments left. Yay!!   It really is going by fast.  My skin is so irritable.   It definitely looks burnt.   I rub that healing ointment on faithfully.  It really does help.  Wearing a bra or anything that is tight or rubbing is very uncomfortable and painful.  Going braless always feels like Heaven but even more so now.  You won’t understand til you’ve been there.   Sports bras REALLY help.   I so recommend those for anyone going through boob radiation. 

Nov 8 –  Today I finally got out of the house.  I made plans with one of my good friends, Celina.  We have known each other since Dominic was a baby, she’s like having a sister.   She knows that things have been rough for me and we’ve been talking about getting together.  So, we finally did.  We were just gonna go to lunch but she ended up joining me at my rad appointment.    That made me happy.  I actually couldn’t wait to have some friend time and of course, some lunch.    She came a bit early, so we had time to talk.  Ive been telling her for awhile now, that I just need to cry.   She said all the right things to get that wall of pain and anxiety to crumble down.  I was finally able to cry, but just a bit. It didn’t all come out but at least I was able to release some of the anguish and fear from the last 9 months.   Telling her through tears, ” I don’t know what happened to my mental strength.  I just don’t feel like that strong person anymore.  I have no idea where she went.”  She was comforting.  She understood my mental struggles.  She didn’t tell me how to feel.  She didn’t tell me what to do.   She didn’t tell me that there are others that have it worse than I do.  She didn’t push me, she just waited.  Sat with me.  She was that shoulder to cry on.   Sometimes, all you need is someone to just sit with you.  Not to say anything or do anything.   Just someone to be there.   She was there.    She allowed me to feel whatever I needed to feel.  A lot of people have told me, “be grateful, look at how far you’ve come” or ” Don’t think that way”  or ” go out and do something, you’ll feel better.”   Don’t tell me how to handle it if you don’t understand what I am going through.  You have no idea.  When people tell you, you are a strong person, you feel ashamed to say you’re not that strong.  It makes it even harder to ask for help.  You feel weak and embarrased.  But know that I am doing my best considering my situation. 

 I needed this day.  I needed someone who understood.  I needed her.  She was there.  She was just what I needed.  

 

 

 

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This was us (Celina and I)  on Superbowl Sunday, 2017.   I was happy.  Things were good.  Life was good.   This was one week before my diagnosis.   Then, my world was turned upsidedown.  I was gutted, shattered, knocked flat on my ass.    I wanna get back to a day like this day.   I wanna get back to normal.  I wanna be happy again.  I wanna be. . .  ‘me’

 I felt better after our day together.  Thank you, I love you

 

Mental struggles, I have learned, are very hard.  Unless you have been there, people just don’t understand, that when you are suffering mentally, you feel – sad/lonely/angry/upset/hopeless/devastated. . . in despair and the despair for me has snowballed rapidly.   Do, I wanna feel this way?  No, I don’t.  But I can’t help it.  Post traumatic stress/Depression is an illness, it needs to be treated just like any other.  When we don’t feel well, like when we have a cold or the flu or we have a toothache, we go to the doctor/dentist.  We’re given medication, antibiotics.  How come we don’t do the same with anxiety or depression? 

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Please remember;  Mental health is just as important

 

It is frustrating when people don’t understand how you feel.

 

Nov 9 – weekly progress

14 weeks post chemotherapy

I’m getting a teeny bit of a wave in the back.

 

 

Today was actually a good day.  Haven’t had one of those in so long.   It wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible either.  I’ll take it.    Maybe my ‘friend time’ yesterday had a lot to do with it.  

 

I only have 3 more treatments to go!!  Next week, I’ll be completely done.  It’ll be all over.  The end to this M$%(##_) F#$^#_)$^*_)_$)^ nightmare will be over.  I’m so glad I can almost say that. 

 

 Well, I am one week in to my medication.   I still don’t see or feel a difference.  I wonder if this will work for me?   Again I am scouring the internet looking for answers.  Reading reviews to see if this med has been a success for people.   It’s crazy how all of this has had me hunger and obsess for info.   It’s the need to feel and want relief.   I just can ‘t imagine living my life with physical and mental pain.  I won’t last.  Thankfully, I have a couple of friends who constantly send me uplift verses or memes.   Unfortunately, it’s not enough to take away all the pain that my mind is suffering.  It only goes on like a bandaid for 2 seconds and then it’s ripped off again and I’m coming unglued.  Please Lord,  I know there’s a way to climb out of this.  I’m just not that strong, yet.   With some of the blogs that I have come across and almost all of the reviews I’ve read, it seems that it takes roughly 2 weeks for anyone to feel like it is working.   Well, that is exactly what the doctor told me.   I guess it’s true.  One more week to hopefully feel better.  Soon, I will be able to increase the dose.   You have to start off slowly to see how it is gonna make you feel.  after about a week and a half you can start to increase the dose.   I can almost do that. 

This is what my doctor prescribed me –  Sertraline 50 mg,

It helps with – PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders, panic attacks and other ailments. 

 

 

As much as I couldn’t wait to get to the end of this journey, I never imagined I was gonna sink this low.  It never crossed my mind.   I’m not sure it crosses anyones mind until they get to this point.  Why would it?  We (I) have so much to be thankful for.   I’m almost to the end.  Just a few more days.   I AM cancer free.  My margins are clear.  I made it through chemo and all the illnesses that came with it – loss of hair, horrible mouth sores, bad taste, bad eye site, weight loss, dry skin, kidney stones, shingles, neuropathy, you name it.   I made it through surgery – Wires, radioactive dye, partial mastectomy and lumpectomy (other side), lymph node dissection, anesthesia and all the pain afterwards.  I’m almost to the end of my last hurdle (radiation) and I’m surviving that.   So, why on earth would I feel so down and hopeless?  Crawling out of my skin and thoughts of ending my life?   I have so much to be happy about.  I should be at the top of the mountain shouting out at the top of my lungs, “I made it, I made it”.   I should be enjoying life and smiling from ear to ear, also saying, “no, no devil, not this time.  Even though you had a big hold on me,  You weren’t gonna win.”  Instead, I am lost, I’m confused. I feel detached.   I’m at the bottom of the pit.  Rock bottom.  On the dark side.   A place I had heard of many times but didn’t think exsisted.   A place that before this journey, I knew I would never be.  How could I?  I’m just too happy for that kind of a place.  Guess what?   I’m there.  I am at that place.  Yes, me, your high spirited, Strong, playful, joking, best positive attitude girl, is in that dark place.   Believe it.  It is true. 

You know what? Aside from no one ever talking about the painful physical after effects of chemo, for sure, no one talks about the mental and emotional side effects.  Everyone rallies around you through your journey.  They boost you up so you have the strength and courage to fight.  They give you tons of love and support.  Saying, “you can do it.  You are brave, you’re a warrior.”  Why don’t we get the same support when we feel mental and emotional pain?  Why isn’t the love and support the same?  People believe that mental pain isn’t real.  That it is not an illness, that it’s a choice to feel that way.  So, instead of getting all that support, you almost get. . . . . bullied, mocked, frowned upon.  The love isn’t the same.  No one rallies around you.  No one gives you courage and strength to make it through THIS challenge.  The support isn’t there.   Here come the stupid ‘pep talks’,  “You’re too strong, why would you feel this way?,  This isn’t you.  You have so much to be grateful for.  You survived”.   It’s like, ‘yeah, I did survive.  But did you know that last week and the week before that,  I felt like slitting my wrists?,  I felt like ending my life and that wasn’t the first time.”  The cancer didn’t kill me, but my mind just might.  It’s a whole other battle.  I didn’t ask for this, just like I didn’t ask to get breast cancer.’   Love and support me the same.  Regardless of what kind of illness I may have. Mental pain hurts just as bad and it is just as deadly as cancer is.   

When a person begins their cancer journey, they DO tell you to talk with a therapist.  They encourage it, just like they do everything else.   They encourage it but they don’t really tell you why.  They just say it’s a good idea. They don’t explain and say that you could possibly have a mental break when it is all said and done.  They just tell you ‘your cancer journey will be long’,  they don’t say that it continues mentally and emotionally. (hence the PTSD)  So, no, you are not really done with your journey when you finish your chemo.  It is not until the storm settles, that you are finally able to ‘feel and deal’ with what you have just been through.  To finally grasp and wrap your head around your diagnosis and treatment.  To finally see all the pieces of the scattered leaves (your life).   and how they are strewn about everywhere.  Do I let them blow away with the wind or do I gather them all up?   I don’t even have the strength to do that.  I am so detached.  From day 1 ( diagnosis) you ARE in a malicious whirlwind of doctors appt, chemo appts, everything, that you just don’t see til way later, just how damaged and broken you really are.

 

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To any and everyone who has ever suffered.  This is coming from the person ( me) that used to judge mental illness. 

I am so sorry

 

From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry that I ever judged you.  I’m sorry that I thought you were weak and not strong enough to overcome the feelings that you were having.    I’m sorry that I’M the one who questioned, “how can somebody feel like that?  How can someone let things get that bad?  Why would someone end their life?”  I can’t say it enough,  “I am sorry.”   I should’ve never questioned anyone’s actions.  I should’ve never put the blame on them.  I should’ve never thought, ‘it’s a choice, not an illness’.   When it IS most definitely an illness and it shouldn’t be over looked as being weak.   I should’ve never. . . . .   I just shouldn’t have.    I had no idea.  No idea at all, until I found myself walking in those same shoes.   I would’ve never known until I had to go through it myself.   I don’t wanna be in those shoes.  I don’t wanna wear them.  They hurt and they make my soul ache.   It’s a desperate ache.  An ache that wont go away.  Please help me to take these shoes off.  They’re very tight and they’ve left me blistered and bleeding.  I can’t walk in them anymore.  They’ve left me crawling.  It’s caused me so much pain. 

 

 It is so true when they say, ‘You don’t know what anyone is going through until you’ve been there yourself.”  I know now.  I understand now.  I get it.  Your soul hurts, your heart hurts, your mind hurts.  It just hurts, everything.  I know you have lots of people who love you but you still feel alone.  Cuz, I do.  I’m not trying to shut anyone out, but I am.  I’m not trying to feel alone, but I feel all alone. I’m not trying to be lost and sad, but I am.   I’m not trying to end my life but that’s what I feel.  I didn’t choose to feel this way, but I do.   I can’t control it and I know you can’t either.  But there is help, I just had to ask for it.  It’s hard to ask for help, I realize that.  I needed to ask for help cuz I understand now that all it takes is a strong moment of despair to end all things.  I was almost at that point.  The thoughts are over powering.  It’s like having your hands tied behind your back.   You are no longer in control of yourself.  The demons (thoughts) are. 

 

To the person(s) that found the despair to be too much –  It hurts me, deeply, that you took your life.  The feelings are profound.  I am so sad that it ended this way and sad for the people around you who loved you dearly.   I am sad for the promising life that was awaiting you, but I do understand that all you wanted was peace.   Cuz I want peace.   I yearn for it.   I pray for it.  I hope I find it.   I don’t take one day at a time anymore.  It has gotten to a point where it is one moment at a time.   Cuz from one moment to the next, is unpredictable. 

 I hope and pray that you found peace. That peace that you so needed, even if it was in the worst way.  And I hope you know, You are loved. 

 

Please get help.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  I will NEVER judge your struggles again,

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Depression

 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://suicidehotlines.com/newmexico.html

 

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Always check on your friends.   The happiest ones could be having the darkest feelings.  And. . . . don’t ever judge. 

 

 Nov 13 –  This is my last week of radiation!!!!  One more day to go.  I can’t believe this time has come.  I’ve been waiting for this since February.  ONE MORE DAY!

 

 

 

Tomorrow is my last radiation!!  I get to ring my last and final bell