My one biggest fear about living and eventually likely dying from this disease is becoming a burden to others. This is a solid fear…. I am a single woman with a lot of friend support, a boyfriend with a very busy business, and family who quite frankly hasn’t seen much of me during these last few years of hell.
When I was diagnosed and treated for 2A disease in 2012 I put the paper bag on my head and did it, all while working. Friends poured out their love bringing food at least once a week, donating a cleaning service for the house, helping with the dogs, at that time Althea was just a pup. So many other thoughtful things that made me feel so fortunate.
The difference between then and now is startling….. I had a “curable” stage 2A course of treatment that had an end point, with the exception of a tamoxifen pill. But there was an end.
With stage 4 disease there is no end. And the goal is to hang on to a drug as long as you can, either until the side effects are so intolerable, or the drug no longer works. You wind up hopping from drug to drug until there’s no tools left in the toolbox.
I have been dealing with severe GI issues since having major lung surgery and another procedure shortly thereafter. A whole lot goes through my squirrel brained 20 year nurse head as to why. Why now is my belly revolting?
Unfortunately a lot of my thoughts and interactions result in feeling as though I’m a burden. I somewhat mourn my “old life” because of the safety and stability, and fearless independence. I had a full time job, I recovered my body from the assault it took to be the strongest in my life, I raced bikes, all while dealing with divorce.
Cancer has changed relationships which are so incredibly valuable to most people’s well being. Friends have faded away, my family lives out of state and are in their “bubble”…. all because “But Kristy, you look so good!”. (That subject will be perhaps my next blog installment).
On the bright side, moving up to the mountains to a small quiet town was the best thing I could’ve ever done. Cancer has taught me to trust my gut and tap in to my intuition. I love this community… great people who really care. I get the best of both worlds really….that work colleagues and friends have weekend homes here and I get to spend some quality time with people I’ve known my entire 17 year career where I still work very per diem.
However, that fearless girl is no longer… what’s been seemingly decimated is that self confidence and sense of security.
When all is said and done at the end of life is that you are ultimately with yourself…. everyone dies alone… you can’t pick someone or something to go with you. You are in fact alone.
I don’t easily ask for help… but I would urge other MBC thrivers to ask and not feel an ounce of guilt. Just remember the person you are and what goes around comes around. Be a good human, and others will do the same. Take help when people are offering, because in my experience that initial “crisis” type help tends to fade away. People have their own lives to live, which they should. 100%.
Thanks to anyone that’s reading. This whole blog thing is foreign to me, but as I said in the last post it feels good to write.
Meanwhile, this week I’ll be delving into a vegan low fodmaps cookbook and planner trying to figure out what I can eat and try to wake that old fiestyness to help my body heal. 32 months of chemo and counting.
Much love to you all.