Throughout my experience with cancer, which spans a decade to days gone by when my mother was staring down her disease, I've had to find ways to keep moving forward through some of the most difficult days of my life. The path is often challenging and surefootedness is never a guarantee. There are detours, unexpected water features, and shoe-sucking muck. It's never known what lies ahead, even if you're somewhere you've been before.
I can feel the cool breeze from the oscillating fan perched atop my dresser passing back and forth across my body. It feels as if I've stepped into a cool room after being outside on a hot day, the artificial wind kissing my damp skin. I'm having night sweats. Again.
“You’ve done this before?,” asks the CT Technologist. I nod, making a classic white-people-making-eye-contact-by-mistake face. You know the one: The spiel begins. “So, you...
For my 35th birthday, the Ontario healthcare system gifted me an oncology appointment: my first since finishing chemotherapy less than a month ago. I officially received word that I'm in the NED stage of my my cancer treatment. No evidence of disease.
I was diagnosed with stage IIIC colon cancer as an elder millennial—thirty-four when I received the news—and facing my mortality so directly was not something I'd ever done before.
When I was attending the Gathering of Wolves, I really wanted to learn more about what people experience so that I can include some of the thinking in my advocacy work, which is quickly becoming more than supporting and engaging with people on social media. For this piece, I've also drawn from conversations I've had with people in support groups and on social media. I'm not going to attribute the lessons to specific people out of privacy and respect, but I do think a lot of these are valuable to share.
I recap some of the takeaways from my appointment with psychiatry as I navigate the mental game of dealing with cancer.
Chemotherapy takes a toll. It's difficult to rely on motivation alone to keep on track with treatment. It requires discipline.
The low-grade panging of anxiety feels like a buzzing in my brain, as if there's a mosquito taking up residence inside my cranium. The little bastard won't quit. He just keeps slamming against my skull, trying to escape. It's persistent. It's debilitating.