The Battle For My Mind

014-2The fight has just begun.

During the  7 months fighting my physical fight with breast cancer, pressing forward with treatment was the foremost thing on my mind.  Getting through the next chemo cycle, healing, re-gaining strength…these were the things I HAD to deal with. Emotions of  fear, anger, sadness, loss, despair, were placed on my back burner to be dealt with later.

Well, my “later” has come.  Others are expecting me to be jumping for joy that  my chemo therapy  is over, yet I feel more down than up.  Ending chemo therapy means they are finished doing all they can do with the heaviest of drugs…and now we wait.  Wait for what?  Wait and hope that cancer doesn’t come back, basically, is what my doctor told me.  When I wake up each day, the image in the mirror reminds me what cancer has done to me, and that I am not who I use to be.  I do not like what I see.  Losing my hair has saddened me more than anyone could imagine, even myself, and I knew it would the hardest part for me.  I just didn’t know how hard and how   l-o-n-g    it would go on. The thought that in 6 months from now I might be lucky enough to have as much hair as my husband makes me want to cry. Hearing I look pretty doesn’t make it go away.  I know what I look like with no make up and no wig and I have to live with that person.

I begin my “maintenance” chemo regimen next week, both intravenously every 21 days and orally (daily) through hormone blockers for 5 years.  My doctor tells me this will induce menopause as my ovaries are shut down for the next 5 years to prevent any cancer cells from being fed.  He assures me I will notice irritability and mood swings. Great.  Just what I need on top of my already fragile emotional state. I asked for a prescription of happy pills along with that.

And of course there’s the ever present questions my mind battles “will my cancer come back?” and “how can they be sure chemo was effective?”  “Is this pain on my side cancer in my liver?”  I am told every cancer patient becomes a hypochondriac, worried about every ache and pain, bruise, headache, or ailment being a form of cancer returned.  I have my first mammogram since last summer coming up on Friday next week.  I’ll never go into those again without absolute fear. That said, I have to now learn to manage my fears with a dose of acceptance and resolve that they can’t hold me back from living.

Being just 15 days away from my last chemo treatment, I still feel tired and a little weak. Every day gets better, but I suspect it will be another month before I feel 100%…yet others tell me that they’ve never returned to 100% of what they use to be, and some of their side effects are still there 2 years later.  I guess 4 months of being poisoned can do that to a person’s body. Every body is different, also. Nobody can place an expectation on themselves because there’s no predicting what your body will  do in this healing process.  Patience becomes your best friend.

Something said at my group Bible study this week spoke to me directly and that was WE DO NOT SERVE A HOPELESS GOD!  I am trying to hold onto that and remember that He is all about restoring my body and my spirit, and that He has only good things in store for my future.  Claiming that, in spite of this very dark place,  is the struggle I am in.  A struggle over my thoughts….a battle for my mind.

I Will Walk Through The Fire If You Want Me To -Ginny Owens scroll down for video

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Chorus:
Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering that Your love put You through
And I will walk through the darkness
If You want me to

Cuz when I cross over Jordan
Gonna sing, gonna shout,
Gonna look into Your eyes and see You never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to You
And I will walk though the valley
If You want me to

Yes, I will walk through the valley
If You want me to

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4 thoughts on “The Battle For My Mind

  1. Hi Koryn:

    I just purchased a Survivor ring from you and read some of your posts. You are an amazingly strong woman who I am glad to know from afar and your jewelry is strong and beautiful as well.

    I am a stage IV lung cancer patient who I call a survivor. March of 2008 I was diagnosed with mets to my liver, adrenal glands, bones and brain. I am 48 and a non-smoker (all of my life). I am an athlete and work as an outdoor educator. As you can imagine, I was shocked and emotionally wrecked. I asked how long and they said with chemo 12-18 months and without 6-12.

    I went through 4 months of chemo, Cisplatin and Taxotere and had gamma knife radiation on my brain. It was rough, I was bald and fat (steriods) but somehow all the people including me, praying for me, were heard. My PET scan showed significant shrinkage and a complete disappearance in the brain. That qualified me for targeted therapy Tarceva and Avastin. It has been 13 months and each PET scan shows inactive cancer or no cancer. I realize I am a miracle but I freak out each 3 month PET scan interval. I am having one in late May and it will be a milestone. My brain MRI was clear last week – thank God.

    I can tell you that the anxiety is always there but I pray a lot and take Ativan when necessary. My friends and family have been amazing and I feel positive. I am scared a great deal but I have a lot of fight left in me. It never leaves my mind but the normalcy comes creeping back and sometimes I forget I have cancer. Life is good though and we are blessed for every day and I pray and send good thoughts your way.

    Carolyn

  2. My heart is filled with tears for your fears. Tho’ my fears have a different source, I have fear in my heart. And depression is my constant companion, too. People have told me endless that my thoughts are “normal” and “to be expected”, but that doesn’t help me deal with things. Sleep well with our Shephard.

  3. Hello there! I found you through Etsy and noticed your shop was closed – so I continued over here to read your story. I’ve cried throughout it all and just cannot imagine what you have been through and still have to face. When I was 40 I had a lumpectomy, but only for stage 2 cells – I was very lucky, but every time I go in for a mammo – I dread it and fear what they may find next! I have friends that are survivors and have heard their stories – I’m glad you’ve written yours down and I was able to read it. All I can say is Bless your Heart for having gone through this horrific experience and being able to maintain who you are! Your sweet demeanor really does show through in your blog! I will pray and continue to read your blog to see how you are progressing. Best of luck to you! (((HUGS))) ~Charlotte

  4. I love you, friend. Thank you for your honesty. We are daily lifting you in prayer. If you would like some company, I’d love to bring you some 🙂 Continuing to pray, Cheryl

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