I went home last weekend to visit my home state of Texas and family, it was nice to see the bluebonnets and visit with friends.
I had lunch with friends I've had for over 30 years.
They've seen so much of my life. After I was done with lunch, I realized that my heart felt so full. I was smiling ear to ear. I couldn't figure out why I was so happy and then it hit me.
When I was told I was NED (no evidence of disease) I was so excited and relieved to be in the survivorship: it was ALL OVER. All the medications, treatments, doctor's visits, extra help- I felt so blessed that it was all over. What I am realizing now is that it was just beginning. In my experience, the treatment part was actually the easiest of the three (diagnosis-treatment-survivorship). I was given exactly what to do, and I did it.
The doctors are pretty good at anticipating what-when-how-why-and I'm good at following directions. Then I was set free and I really thought it was over.
My friends and family were moving on-and I had a huge smile on my face-but I was not moving along with them.
I was depressed, heavy, scared, hesitant, and completely hormone driven. I hardly have memory of much of it, but I know that I wasn't a very pleasant person to myself; much less anyone else.
As time went by I started to improve. I started going to crossfit, yoga and a therapist. I started addressing issues I had one by one and slowly got myself "back". The only problem was, this took seven years.
My friends that had known me for 30+ years, the friends that I thought had disappointed me while I was going through cancer had actually treated the best way they could. They gave me the space and time to accept the new me. Once I came back and introduced myself, they welcomed me back with open arms and enormous support.
Why am I telling you this? Because someone you know may need a "break," not a "break up". Survivorship takes you down a bumpy road. If you are a caregiver, friend or family, consider some of the potential crazy behavior from your survivor as part of their cancer journey and not a permanent personality shift. You'll soon see a 2.0 version of your cancer survivor and it will be well worth the wait!