Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Breaking Point

It's been well over a week since I have even attempted to write about my experience. This past week has been much too hard to handle. I'm not myself, and nothing seems OK. I haven't attempted to put this into words because there aren't any that seem to fit. I can't pull the emotions together well enough to express it. Even so, I'm going to try.

Here's the thing, everyone has a breaking point. No matter how much you can handle, there's a point at which you just can't take any more. It's that point when you simply fall apart like shattered glass into what seems like thousands of tiny shards. I really didn't see this coming, but do you ever? The hardest blows I've taken in my life have all been a surprise, coming when I least expected it.

I handled this diagnosis quite well. I made the tough decision for my surgery in actual minutes without reservation, never looking back. I finally got a grip on the hair thing and now pick out my hair each day like an outfit. That's the hard part, right? Those things are the big ones. Or so I thought...

But this week I ran into a new wrinkle that has me completely undone. It seems that I have developed "chemo-pause". This lovely condition throws your body into all of the symptoms and realities of menopause regardless of your age. The chemo kills cancer, your white blood cells, your hair, and to add insult to injury, your ovaries. At 39 (for exactly 1 more week) that just seems impossible and unthinkable. Yet, for an entire week I've been waiting, hoping against hope that I would just start my stupid period like some teenage girl in "trouble" that just can't believe this is happening to her.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in a fog of tears. All I could think about was getting done with work so that I could be alone to fall apart. I didn't make it. So, I cried silently at my desk for most of both days. I still hadn't accepted that this is what was going on, even as I fought the stupid hot flashes. I even caught myself pressing my arms against my chest subconsciously looking for the tell-tale sensitivity that so often accompanies that time of the month. Why would I do that?? I don't even have my real boobs anymore. Even if I did have my period on the way it wouldn't affect my chest. That moment was devastating. It was the moment when I no longer felt like a woman at all.

Months of physical change collided with my definition of what it means to be a woman. And suddenly, I was an imposter. I guess I'll have to redefine that definition one of these days. So, here I sat with my 1/2 constructed boobs wearing a wig because I have no hair, a mouth full of sores so sensitive that I could barely talk, and a constantly running and bloodied nose. The combination was overwhelming. I was truly devastated. And then I got mad, really mad. For the first time in my life, I was mad at God. By the way, it's OK to get mad at Him sometimes. Turns out, He can handle it. And believe me, we've discussed it! It's not like He doesn't know anyway.

When you reach those moments in life, you really have only one choice. You can turn to Him, or away from Him. That's actually not a choice at all. But, so many people choose poorly when faced with that situation. I knew I wouldn't be one of them. But, I also knew that I needed help. So, I picked up the phone and asked for it. I called a couple of friends and told them what was going on between sobs and asked for prayer. I asked them to ask other people to pray as well. There is incredible power in the intercessory prayers of others. We have to pray for each other! By Thursday, the prayers were working. Thank you, thank you, thank you if you have prayed for me. If not, please do. I still desperately need it.

I'd love to say that I'm completely better now. But, that's just not true. Instead, I'm lost in the numbers again. 60% of the time this condition is permanent in women my age. 6 out of 10...I don't like that statistic. I can't tell you why it matters to me as much as it does when the other things haven't seemed to. I think it's cumulative like the chemo. None of these things individually is too much, but the combination packs quite the punch. So, I am praying for things to get better. I'm praying for understanding and the strength to get through. And I'm praying that there are better days ahead because these days are nearly unbearable.


kitykity said...

I'm definitely praying for you, and I'm always thinking about you. We might not talk three times a day, but I won't leave you alone. Hugs...


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