February 19, 2010

will there ever be a balance?

i've realized, as of late, that i really do live a double life. one week i play the role of cancer patient, and the next week i play the role of a busy, relatively 'normal' twenty-something. some weeks the lines are more blurred than others, but lately, it's been quite separate. in fact, i sat down to write this post almost a week ago, but got so busy with my week off from cancer that i haven't had time to sit down again until now...

it's an interesting balance. in the beginning, cancer was my primary focus. for the first two months before finally being diagnosed, there was no balance...it was all cancer, all the time. physically i was at appointments all the time, but i was also mentally consumed thinking about everything and trying to wrap my head around all of it. it was so draining that i never thought i'd survive the journey ahead. the first couple months of treatment were a little more balanced, i'd go to work in between treatments, and didn't have as many appointments, but i still thought about cancer and everything i had to deal with a lot more than i thought about everything else in my life. somewhere around the halfway point, it started to become a fifty-fifty balance...i'd think about cancer a lot on my treatment week, and wouldn't think about it too much on my off week.

and, that brings us to now.... there's hardly a balance, i think about cancer on the day of treatment, and a little the days after, but my main focus is on everything else in my life. even on my recovery days there's not a lot of focus on cancer. i think about how i feel miserable, but it's not the same anxiety causing, 'what ifs' mindset. this past week, while recovering, i was making appointments for grad school, setting up my internship, and preparing to file my taxes. and, on my off week, i've been so focused on getting things in order for grad school in the fall and on work that i haven't really even thought about cancer.

mentally, i'm in a much, much better place than i have been since this cancer business began in july. however, i'm starting to wonder if i'll ever find a balance, or if i've found it...and, i also wonder what on earth the new normal will be.

it's unreasonable to try and fully focus on other things. why? because i have cancer (or had cancer), and it will always be a part of my life and who i am. you don't just get through cancer treatment and move on. i'll have a lot of follow up appointments, and i'll always have worry in the back of my mind. it gets better with time, but i have to learn to accept everything that goes with it from this point forward. with cancer you don't get to forget...and, thats normal. i don't think i'd want to forget, even if i could, i just want to be able to focus the thoughts on something productive...like taking the best care of myself i can, living every day to the fullest, and using my experience to help others.

perhaps i've reached the place where i should be. i don't focus on cancer too much outside of the doctor's office, and i always said i wanted to leave the details to my medical team. i've been able to push forward in my life outside of cancer...socially, academically, professionally and personally. i haven't let cancer drag me down, or throw my life off course. in fact, i'd say my life is more on course than it's ever been. i feel a much greater sense of purpose, i've created incredible relationships with people i wouldn't have in my life if it weren't for cancer, and i've shed my fear of taking risks. is it possible to come out of cancer better than when you went into it? i hope so.

it's safe to say cancer has totally changed my idea of balance. and it's probably a good thing, because i never did well with balance before anyways...

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh... there is hope! There is life after all of this :)

    I'm so glad you're able to tell the rest of us about it.