“Don’t move! Just sit perfectly still and everything will be okay.”
I have been talking to myself like this for hours now, and I am not getting any better. I feel like I am dying.
How can I possibly explain the aftermath, the devastation that chemotherapy leaves in its wake?! To describe the indescribable? I have but only ineffective human words at my disposal.
Have you ever have such a bad headache or migraine that you thought to yourself, “If I lay perfectly still and try not to think or move, then it won’t hurt so much.”?
Or, have you been so sick, so nauseous that you thought to yourself, “If I don’t move, if I am perfectly still, I won’t throw up again.”?
Or, have you been so sick, so ill with no end in sight, that you broke down crying, begging God to take you right then and there, to end your suffering?
All three combined, pales in comparison to how I am feeling as a result of my chemotherapy. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew what to expect. Nothing could be further from the truth! Nothing could have prepared me for this.
My body is shaking, vibrating at a very high rate of speed. I am terrified that, if I let my guard down for even one second, I will literally split apart at the seams and die.
It is like my immune system is in overdrive, all hands on deck, scrambling in every direction to keep my body alive. But what can they do? It is a full frontal assault. A sickness like none I have ever experienced before.
The sensation of walking from one room to another is bizarre. Part of me is fighting to disconnect from my body. I don’t want to feel this! I don’t want to go through this! I am floating outside my body.
Then I pull myself back in to my body. I don’t want to abandon my body again! I can’t apologize enough to my body. Leaving and reentering my body is making me dizzy!
I am on three different anti-nausea medications in preparation for this moment in time. They aren’t helping! It is taking every ounce of strength I have not to throw up. In the back of my awareness, there is the knowledge that once I start I may never stop, Maybe it is just fear. It is as if I can feel each and every cell in my body as it dies.
And, that is literally what is happening. Chemotherapy does not target cancer cells. That is a common misconception that people have. Chemotherapy is a blanket therapy that targets fast-growing cells, which includes cancer cells. Just imagine for a moment all the areas of your body, including your organs, that have fast-growing cells. All are negatively impacted by chemotherapy.
So now I sit, frozen, hour after painful hour. I am waiting for the moment, that moment when you know you have turned the corner and are on the mend. The moment never comes. The minutes turn in to hours. The hours turn in to days.
I can’t tell you who has been here, who has visited me, or anything else for that matter. I just don’t remember. My whole focus is on survival. Living through one minute, one hour, one day.
In some ways, it reminds me of how I felt, fighting for my life in the hospital after a botched cancer surgery in 2006 though, even that pales in comparison to how I am feeling post chemotherapy.
I haven’t complained. For how can I! My suffering has been self-induced. Yes, you have heard me right. There have been a lot of well-intentioned but fear-based opinions and even fear mongering. But, in the end, I chose to proceed with the chemotherapy. I made the decision. I have no one to blame but myself.
What have I done?! God, what have I done?!
This has got to be the the most difficult post I have written to date. There have been many weeks of procrastination leading up to today. This pivotal moment in my life that happened almost two years ago is still heavily charged with emotion. Even now, I don’t really want to remember what I went through. I don’t want to look in the rear view mirror. I don’t want to remember the feeling as my body cried out my betrayal. My self betrayal. The abandonment of my Self to the opinions of others.
Even now, reading over the post that I have just written, I realize that my words are so inadequate. They have not come close to describing the sensations and the emotions I have lived through, knowing that I consciously poisoned myself.
As I look back, it is hard to believe, even now, that what was my darkest hour has actually turned my life towards the light.
I am ready to move forward. I am ready and willing to forgive myself.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.