Thursday, August 18, 2011

Flashback Backlash

That’s what it felt like last night.

After yesterday’s visit to the oncologist with John for a quarterly check-up a wave of grief, anger, hurt and fear hit me hard. No sleep last night just wide awake nightmares and scenarios of chemo-days and the loneliness of those two years flooding thru me.

Being at the chemo center was the trigger. It felt like a huge delayed reaction. Maybe it hits now because I am safe enough now and we are safe enough now and the cancer crisis is far enough away now so I can fully absorb how painful it was then. And it was so painful then.

Here’s what I understand: the body can only do so much and hold so much pain. Then it gets shoved way down. To spring up later. Kind of like caregiver PTSD. I made my pain worse in those two years of John’s diagnosis, surgery, chemo and post-chemo exhaustion and recovery from awful side effects. I didn’t want to admit the fear and the loneliness—especially the loneliness. I was afraid to say—back then—how hard it was because I was afraid that someone would think I wasn’t loving enough or a good enough girlfriend. I really believed that I needed to be that uncomplaining, sacrificing caregiver.

All the advice I give so freely now: use your support group; complain like mad; speak up; find two people who can hear all of your real feelings—I learned the hard way. Maybe that is why my passion for cancer caregiving is so strong.

But even two years later as we still live in Cancer Land I’m having to release so much pain.

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