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A Break not a Break Up

March 9, 2017

 

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!

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