This past weekend, almost two years after diagnosis (July 6th, 2016), I was angry. I am angry.
For the first time since my diagnosis, I’m angry at my cancer. I’m angry because I have finally allowed myself to feel that anger.
Let’s rewind here for a moment:
I spent months after my dense chemo staying as busy as I possibly could. This entailed working full-time as a preschool teacher and working at a restaurant on the weekends. I told myself it was because I enjoyed it. The reality was that I didn’t really want to face the emotions that can follow after chemo…and BOY DID THEY FOLLOW. My dear old friends, depression and anxiety came back with a vengeance. As someone that has suffered with generalized anxiety disorder most of my life, with having dealt with depression in my past, I went back to what I knew best: unhealthy coping skills such as avoidance. I stayed as busy as possible so I that I didn’t have time to think. Plus, by the time I was done with work I was so exhausted that I would go straight to bed.
A few months later I realized the stress was incredibly unhealthy and the exact opposite of what I truly needed. I quit my weekend job and transitioned careers entirely outside of childcare. I miss the kids soooo much, but it didn’t allow for any “me” time.
Fast forward to today:
I’m about three months into my new career, four days from my two year “cancerversary” and the feelings are finally creeping in.
I didn’t allow myself to feel. I didn’t allow myself to time to accept the absolute SH*T that I had to go through. I didn’t allow myself to feel angry for my situation. You know… the situation of having breast cancer in my 20’s. I viewed it as selfish. I thought I should only feel gratitude. That’s not the reality of life after cancer. I am angry. I am wrathful. I am worthy of feeling this way.
I went through breast cancer as a 25/26 year old. I am now 27 and considered “cancer-free” but cancer is still a very big part of my life. Amongst that, I have had to accept my new reality. I’m 27 years old and have the body of a female going through menopause. I don’t menstruate, my hormones are all out of whack, my bones ACHE, I may never be able to have child (that’s a novel in itself) and my metabolism is kaput and I have the added weight to show it.
I had the HEALTHIEST relationship that I’ve ever had with food and body image, ever in my life, the two years leading up to diagnosis. It brought me to tears at one point because I finally felt in control with my disordered eating and thoughts. I found myself thinking about this the past few weeks, quite a lot. It brought angry, resentful, tears to me this time instead. Cancer is shitty. Cancer sucks. Cancer really freaking sucks.
I’m learning to accept my reality and new metabolism. I’m now seeing the dietitian that has known me since I was 16 and the one I met through the cancer center. I’m currently following a meal plan that is typically used for menopausal woman for weight management… But. BUT. I’m NOT allowing my new reality to cause any more negativity with my body. My body has been through the ringer – and it’s time to be accepting and give gratitude to the body that fought like hell for me to be alive today.
I’m angry. I’m really really angry. My life has been drastically changed because of cancer.
But I plan on using this anger to strive for continued and better health along the way. I refuse to accept the path of self-loathe that it’s trying to take me on.
Here’s to a healthier, determined, me. I am so thankful to be able to feel these feelings, to be alive to do so, and to use this anger as fuel.