Category Archives: Chemo

Just venting…

Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.

Being a divorced, single, childless woman in my 40s battling cancer yet again is just a sad state to find myself in…again.

Divorced Female, Going Bald, Undergoing Chemo and Radiation, Going Through Menopause, Weight Fluctuations, Mood swings…

Oh yeah, isn’t that the first profile you would click on if you were searching for the love of your life or even just a new ‘friend’ online? Dating in itself – or, I should say, finding someone to date – is never easy. Finding someone when you happen to be bald, going through chemo and/or making daily trips to the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation makes it a zillion times more complicated. Trust me, I know. I have tried it. I am not sure why I have tried it but I did. Logically, I knew it was not the best idea. But heck, I guess I am bored, optimistic, stupid?!

Going through cancer treatment can be really tough for a single woman. You may not have a friend or family member who can be there for you like a partner. You may also worry about how a current or future partner will react when they find out you’ve had cancer.

Perhaps the most private scar left by cancer is the damage done to your view of yourself. My self-image is completely distorted at times. I constantly find myself worried if I can ever catch up, keep up or even get going on most days. I wonder how active I can be and even how long I will live. If I ever even allow myself to think about remarrying one day, I obsess about if I should ever involve a partner in such an uncertain future.

In the past, concerns about having children also affected my relationships. I became infertile many years ago with my first bout of cancer. So alone I am.

I have been single most of my life. And I live by this quote by prixie: “Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Yes I am scared. Tired of not having someone special around. But the reality is I am my own person, and if I can’t enjoy being single, how can I enjoy being with someone else?

The most difficult thing for me about going through cancer yet again is doing it single, alone. In the past, I had a much larger, strong support network so I was hardly ever alone. But now I find myself more alone. At a time when closeness is so much more important, I feel so utterly singularly alone. During this time, my treatment, I am trying so hard to be brave and not complain too much. But staying quiet and calm, doesn’t prevent me from being lonely sometimes and longing for someone to hold me at night and whisper that everything is going to be alright. Or even just to take me to dinner, make me laugh, smile and forget about cancer for a little while, make me feel desirable. I have friends who take pity on me and take me out for dinner, and make me laugh but its just sadly not quite the same thing. Sometimes I just so desperately want to ignore the cancer.

Nearly everyone I encounter who has or has had cancer – friends, people at the hospital, family, people in books and on TV – were either married or in a serious relationship when they were diagnosed; or children with caring parents. Not me. I am in the very vulnerable single state and not having someone to hold my hand every step of the way, makes me wistful, if not angry sometimes. But instead of just being jealous of others in relationships with supportive loving partners, feeling sorry for myself, I keep trying online dating. It makes me feel somewhat normal.

Within minutes of posting a new photo online, I had e-mails from men ready to shower me with attention. Of course, most weren’t exactly my type, but you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, right?! lol

I guess I am lucky somewhat … I have had some really interesting email exchanges, but alas have not found the man of my dreams during treatment. Still, dating during treatment restores my self-confidence, reassures me that I am still attractive, and distracts me enough moments at a time. The way I see it, is that everyone is unique and carries baggage of some kind and this is only one part of me, I guess. Just tired today of carrying all this baggage. Tired of my hand dangling alone.

So yes … Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.

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Do I dare pray for another chance at life?

I find myself at an all-time low. Snow falls all around me outside, tears inside me. Last week I reached a small positive milestone, I was able to walk, in the ice and snow, and managed to keep my anxiety low, not falling, slipping nor breaking any bones since marking my one year anniversary of getting hit by a car. But this past weekend, brought me much heartache…a man I was dating verbally and physically assaulted me. I am mad at myself for allowing myself to be treated poorly and tolerating these selfish, insecure people in my life.

I am sure we have all heard the saying, “Never let someone be your priority, while you remain their option” – but how many actually follow this sage advice?! I know I have not…but I am working on it…

It’s no secret I have a weakness — I see people better than they really are or better than they see themselves. My expectations and trust of people always gets the best of me because I place them high on top of the totem pole instead of leaving room for their faults and issues so, when they do something that goes against what I think of them; I always, always end up being disappointed and in tears. When getting involved in a romantic relationship this kind of thinking has always lead to my own personal heartbreak because I chose to make a man my priority when he only considers me his option.

No more. And just when I thought things could not possibly get any worse…I find myself lost…yet again. I got worse news from my doctor…heard those dreaded words, “you need a biopsy”. Seriously! I am trying to process…words replaying in my head….dense breast tissue, spot compression, need for additional projections, sonogram, ultrasound exam, aggressive cells…biopsy…I don’t know how I will survive the wait in between more tests.

I had my mammogram in December then I was told because it showed dense breast cancer tissue, which I was assured then, was common – I had to have more tests done. So, after getting the insurance company to agree to move forward, I endured more tests – different breast imaging tests. And today was more tests results day. Yes, another dark day!

The past couple of months, I have been accused of being negative. I just rationalized that I was a realist. I always believed I was a glass half full, turn lemons into lemonade kind of gal. Ha! Fast realizing that I am not so much an optimist as I am a pessimist with the largest worry gene. When the sun is shining bright, I carry an umbrella, anticipating rain; when the phone rings after 10pm, I envision twisted metal, heart attacks, start to mentally plan a funeral. Truth be told, I have never been the overly effusive, perky, upbeat cheerleader type. But I still thought I was a positive person, adapting well to change. Not afraid to be impulsive and take risks. I am admittedly not the type to in denial of every dark emotion I have had. I have had my inner demons of sadness make me doubt God at times, especially when I was younger. But I believe in God, and I place my faith in Him, and I pray, hope, and believe that things happen for a reason. Sometimes God wants us to trust Him through hell so that He can give us strength to see better days. And I am beginning to think I am like a cat with nine lives and then some…

Right now I am just channeling darkness….what can I say – I have dark hair, dark eyes…I am dark. So, I guess being an intellectual and a cynic, I have trouble admitting this but I have to believe this latest bad news will somehow turn out well.

I do volunteer work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering so I tend to keep up with research. I know all too well the statistics. I have just, once again, joined the growing ranks of cancer survivors who are confronting second, new malignancies—not a recurrence or spread of their original disease. Sometimes, the new cancer is an aftereffect of powerful radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Other times, genetic or familial risks play a role. And sometimes, lifestyle—diet or exposure to toxins—is to blame. The numbers are surging: An astonishing one in six people with a new cancer diagnosis had previously been diagnosed with a different cancer. Yup! That would be me. I always knew the risks, early on. We all need to know that many chemotherapy drugs are themselves cancer-causing agents. The chemo that’s eliminating a first cancer may cause another later; while targeting the DNA of cancer cells, the drugs also affect normal cells. I am proof of that.

Years after my leukemia fight, I was cautioned that I would most likely have complications from experimental treatments. And the past few years, I have had many tumors removed. For many cancer patients, radiation treatment controls tumor growth, decreases recurrences, and improves survival. Like chemotherapy, though, radiation itself is a cancer risk. As patients live longer after treatment, the possibility of a radiation-induced tumor rises. So, I tend to live my life with eyes wide open – even so, I am thrown for a loop. I knew, on an intellectual level, I am a high risk, and considering my health history, today should not have come as such a surprise. But it has. I cannot emphasize to other cancer survivors and patients how important it is to be brave, face facts and act fast…I know I will.

Considering I am such a worry wart, you would think I would be more prepared to handle today’s news. Learning that worrying does NOT prepare you for disaster. Learning that nothing prepares you. The worst has found me again, and you know what? I will have to deal with it … keeping hope in my soul…grace in my step…love in my heart. ♥

So the last couple of weeks, especially the past ninety-six hours, I am trying to remain hopeful, thinking about how different things can happen, be quite insightful, humbling and puts things into perspective.

Sending out a special request to all who read this, pray…for me, for you…for all.

“Life is short. Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly” ― Paulo Coelho


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