Past, Present, Future

I keep thinking that I’m almost done, almost done with this nightmare but I’ve been proven wrong time and time again. One of the best ways that I coped with being extremely ill and potentially dying was to simply shut out any negative emotions and instead focus on having the best day possible every day. This was incredibly effective in the short term, but doesn’t translate well long-term. I keep having to remind myself that life is a marathon now, not a sprint.

I have developed a fair amount of PTSD. For me, this manifests in an overwhelming numbness and fear of emotion. Every once in awhile, I will be overtaken with extreme sadness, which is terrifying for me. My initial reaction is to push it away, to refuse to feel it, but I am working on letting myself engage with these emotions with the hopes that this will help me process.

I have been having some recent flare-ups with the GVH and am back up to 40 mg every other day on steroids. I’m not sure how long I will be at this dose, but I hate it. I will have to have my central line longer as well. I hate every second of this acutely and I have extreme treatment fatigue. Ripping out my central line myself sounds pretty good right now (don’t worry, I won’t actually do it).

I am sharing this because I read a mom’s account of how miserable she was after her daughter’s treatment and it really touched me and helped me through what I was feeling. I hope I am able to do the same for someone else.

I am getting close to my first “re-birthday” which will mark one year cancer free. Part of me is incredibly grateful and the other part is resentful that I am expected to be grateful to be alive at the age of 20. Shouldn’t that be a given?

In an effort to be mildly socially acceptable I’ll add a little happy detail: after 10.5 months and my nails dying not once, not twice, but three times, I’m delighted to announce that they have finally grown in healthy. It’s the little things.

 

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About Brooke Vittimberga

I have cancer...oops
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4 Responses to Past, Present, Future

  1. Liz says:

    I had a real emotional let down after treatment was over and started seeing the oncology psychiatrist which was very helpful. Perhaps you’ve already tried that. It’s hard to believe now but the trauma will lessen in time. Hopefully sooner than later because you have a lot of living to do!!!!

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  2. It’s natural to have a shift in your emotions. I have become much more emotion-less, some have said cold, but I believe it is that toughness and ability to zone out that got me through. You are doing great x

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  3. Samantha says:

    I don’t know how I stumbled onto your blog, but I have read back through some of your posts and feel like I have to comment. I am 21 and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma back in March of 2015…I had what you consider an “easy” (and I agree in terms of cancer it certainly was) treatment plan with chemo, surgery, then more chemo. You have been pushed even further than I have, so I cannot say I relate to everything you’ve written, but you have such a way of putting feelings into words. Obviously our circumstances were different, but as I was reading some of what you wrote, I just wanted to scream “YES! That is it!”. I am done with treatment (minus scans every few months), but I feel like there’s a definite lack of information about there about how to handle life after cancer. It sucks, cancer sucks, and I am truly so very sorry to hear how you have struggled and continue to. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers (for whatever that is worth)…I had to even say this because our “journeys” (hate that word) have been so different, but you aren’t alone!

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    • Hi Samantha!! I read a bunch of your blog and relate to you so much! I especially loved your post about things you don’t want people to say to you (like about “natural” treatments and strength etc. UGH). So glad that you are finished with treatment and I’m wishing you all the best. Feel free to add me on fb or insta and keep in touch 🙂

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