The Cancer Journeys: Blindsided by Emotions

I’m currently planning a series of blog posts about cancer, called “The Cancer Journeys.” This will be a series of posts about my journeys with cancer that are designed to give someone else hope and courage, no matter what you’re going through.

As I was gathering old journal entries and making notes of my thoughts, my emotions started going all over the place. I stopped, and told my husband, “My brain is full.” I got really sad, and, if you ask my husband, maybe even a bit prickly. 😉

It’s taken me a few days to sort through my emotions, and I’ve come to a startling conclusion: I’m angry! This surprises me, because I’m not very temperamental, and not the anger type.

However, right before Christmas, I had surgery, and from that surgery, the pathology showed I had endometrial cancer. This is my third time with cancer, and all three are different types. With this most recent one, before the hysterectomy, we weren’t even 100% sure that it was cancer. With my other two cancers, we already had the confirmed diagnosis and had an idea of what we were dealing with. This time, we didn’t.

It’s really strange to find out you had cancer after the fact. We caught it early, and no other treatment is required. It was almost over before it began. My first symptom showed up November 1st, and by December 21st, I was in surgery. It happened quick, and before I could blink, I was recovering from surgery.

Now, here I am, just over two months later, I’m recovered, feeling great, and back to my regular activities and life. But emotionally, maybe not so much.

As many of you may know, my husband and I were high school sweethearts, who ended up at different colleges, and eventually to different lives. We reunited and married 21 years after high school. Yes, we’re one of those couples. During those 21 years apart, my husband married and had children, then tragically lost his wife in a car accident.

Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about grief, especially how grief can blindside you. You can be going along, doing okay, then hear a song on the radio or smell her favorite perfume, and bam! Suddenly, you’re a puddle of tears.

I think there’s grief with cancer as well. Please know, I’m not equating the loss of a loved one with the loss of a body part or two. But there is a level of grief and emotion when you’re battling for your health.

Even if the immediate diagnosis, surgery, crisis have all passed, you can still be blindsided. Any traumatic event is going to leave a scab. And sometimes scabs get ripped open again and bleeds.

You know what? It’s okay to be emotional. I’m good at stuffing my emotions and putting on a brave front. But once in a while, you just have to roll with the punches. And this week, I’m acknowledging my anger at a third cancer diagnosis, despite the fact that all is well right now.

I won’t carry this anger around forever – that takes too much energy! But I need to acknowledge it, face it, then put it behind me as best I can.

God has gifted me with a glorious life. It’s time to get on with it!

How about you? Have you ever had emotions sneak up on you from a past event? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear from you.

This blog has long been defunct. Probably because I didn’t have a topic or theme for the blog. Well, maybe now I do. And it’s a difficult one for me to write about. I don’t want to be a public person known JUST as a cancer survivor. I’m much more than that. I don’t want cancer to become my identity. However, there’s so many twist and turns on this journey through cancer, that maybe I should write about it. Maybe just to not feel so alone at times. I know there are many, many other survivors out there who have walked this road. Hey, and thank God there are so many survivors!! I like that! But it’s still an exclusive club that we’re in. A club we never wanted to join, yet here we are. I’ve been here twice now. Back on this journey, and I don’t want to be alone.
To clarify, I KNOW I’m never alone. As a Christian, I have my faith in God, and He definitely has been with me ALL THE WAY through this journey. No, I don’t understand why I got cancer twice. But I do believe that all things are used for God’s purpose. Maybe mine is just to reach out with love and with hope. Maybe I’ll never know the reason, but I definitely want to focus on moving forward and not back.
This blog was originally called Rebecca’s Journey. What a journey this life is! The theme of this blog is the “New Normal.” The “new normal” is what happens when your life turns upside down, and this you’re supposed to begin again — with many things being the same, but your perspective, and your physical health and looks being so much different.
Everyone reacts differently to having cancer, to getting through treatment, to surviving cancer. Surviving is a word I like to focus on. However, different we may react, only a fellow cancer survivor knows what this feels like at its core. Friends and family can understand, sympathize, and care for you like never before, but sometimes you want to scream: You don’t know what this feels like! But as long as those friends and family members allow you to scream, and still love you anyway, then I guess it’s all right.
I’ve screamed at God. I didn’t understand, and I certainly didn’t want this. But yet I know He’s been there by my side the entire time. Of that, I have no doubt. He’s shaping me, molding me into someone else. It’s obviously not just my physical body that’s being re-shaped. And hopefully, I can take this faith, and this experience, and turn it in to something good.
For now, I just wanted to say hello. Next time, we’ll go into my cancer history, so you’ll learn more about the road I’ve been on. Maybe together, we can share and care for each other, and still be grateful to be here!