Saturday, April 2, 2011

This too shall pass

Or will it…

This time last year when I would become overwhelmed with feelings and emotions I would cut myself or drink myself into a dissociative state. There were times I would wake up in a pool of blood and not know how it happened. Friday nights were the worst night of the week for me because more than twenty years later I would still play out the same scenario of abuse over and over again. I couldn’t get through a Friday night without hurting myself – most of the time I didn’t realize it was even happening.

I never learned how to sit with my feelings or even “feel” them – or allow them – and know that they would eventually pass – no matter what they were. When I would fall into the pit of despair it felt like I would never climb out…all that has changed now. I don’t know why so I can’t explain it. I still have the same emotions, the same thoughts – there are times I’m still depressed, and I still want to hurt myself – but I haven’t. Not since I was diagnosed with ‘the cancer’.

They say a cancer diagnosis changes your life. It’s true. Since I was diagnosed with cancer my life has changed dramatically. I have an incurable, but ‘treatable’, form of blood cancer. My life now is so different from what it was a year ago I don’t even recognize it. My life is now chemotherapy and cancer centers and hospitals and fighting to live and not die. I look back on my life now and I want those days, weeks, years back. But I can’t have them… I only have right now.

I hear people say cancer is a gift and they’re thankful for having cancer. I’m not thankful for cancer. Having cancer sucks. I am being attacked by from the inside out. I’ve spent more time in the hospital in the past 6 months than the previous 38 years. Chemotherapy is poison and the side effects are severe and frightening; fatigue, nausea/vomiting, weight loss, hair loss, neutropenia. Cancer takes from you your pride, your energy, your confidence. It’s not much different than the abuse of the past: cancer can bring people together and tear people apart.

Last week I learned that my best chance for surviving this is a stem cell transplant and even then the cancer will most likely eventually come back. That’s the reality. Yesterday I spent hours crying on the bathroom floor, and then I got angry and threw a water bottle at the wall and screamed, “why me” into a pillow. Last night I was unable to sleep as my cancer ridden body tries to fight off another infection and I alternate between sweating and chills.

This morning my pelvis, hips, back, and chest are throbbing in excruciating pain as my body tries to produce white blood cells in mass quantities…wow! That hurts. But the sun is shining and I am blessed to have family and friends who reach out with love and support and truly make days like yesterday bearable. I don’t know what today will bring, what the future will hold, or if I will even have one – yesterday wasn’t a good day, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid, but I’ve already been to hell and back, cancer obviously didn’t get the message…I will win…every time.


  1. In every sentence...every word...every letter....I hear that fighter that you are.....and I'm grateful that you're a fighter....
    Grace....I wish with all my heart you didn't have to go through this....I'm praying....and here listening...hang tight okay....never stop fighting..whether it's cancer or abuse or anything life throws....stand strong....

  2. Grace sorry for the pain you are in I know you are a determined individual and a fighter. Dear one, safe hugs to you as you go through this struggle.