I swing pretty badly between not wanting to be that person walking around with no eyebrows, no hair and wearing a headscarf – and wanting to own it, share my story and hopefully raise awareness for ovarian cancer.
I’ve lost sight of me. I’ve had two times in life now where I’ve had things happen that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Things out of my control. Each time I’ve struggled to maintain ME.
Maintaining a sense of self outside of being a bereaved mother, or a cancer patient is hard. The resources that go into everyday life take all that you have. When you add on intense grief, or a life limiting cancer diagnosis, survival mode kicks in. Each came with fatigue. Intense fatigue. A loss in mental resources.
I think the best way I can describe it is starting the day with my cup half full. Ideally, we would all start the day with an empty cup. As hard things happen (like dealing with the reaction from giving your child the wrong coloured cup with milk at breakfast, or choosing the wrong clothes to wear for the day), forgetting something important like sports uniform for school drop off, explaining to your children how important it is to brush their teeth for the 5th time that week (and it’s Wednesday morning) – your cup fills up bit by bit. Maybe it’s a big meeting at work, or a discussion with a staff member you’ve been dreading. Less life stress gives you a lower starting point – your cup is emptier at the beginning of the day. Maybe you start the day with your cup almost empty. So it takes more stressors throughout the day to make you lose it/flip your lid.
I start the day half full, and it fills up pretty fast. The extra stressors feel harder at the moment. The fatigue is overwhelming. The brain fog is intense. And I won’t share with you all the bodily challenges I’ve got (mentally and physically). So there’s no capacity left to just be me. The closest I get is visiting my cancer psychologist – which has been amazing.
I think the reason I’m so keen for chemo to just be done with is so that hopefully the fatigue subsides and I can be ME again. Have more energy and mental capacity to work on me, and what is important to me.
There’s so many things I want to work towards, but the lack of energy to do anything more than survive is a really big challenge at the moment.
Bring on the end of April! Hopefully I’ll be skiing and tramping and learning to knit and play the uke before you know it 👊🏼