[cancer] The mental fight

Physiologically speaking, I’m actually feeling pretty good these days (taking everything in context). It won’t last because chemo restarts two weeks from tomorrow, but I’ll take what I can get.

However, while this is a respite from the physical horrors and stress of chemotherapy and surgery, it’s allowing me more time for my anxieties and emotional stresses to manifest. As my therapist has commented, I have an amazing degree of equilibrium and positivity, given all that I’ve been through in the past few years. Still, the fears of cancer gnaw at me and sometimes the gnawing grows too loud for me to ignore.

At the moment my worrying mind is back on the question of when, if ever, I’ll have the social and emotional energy to build another strong central relationship in my life. This isn’t me catastrophizing or running to the negative. There’s essentially an even chance I’l never be healthy again, I’ll just go from sick to sicker until I die of this fucking cancer.

At the same time, I’m doing everything in my power (and in the power of my oncologists) to direct my health toward a better outcome. It does me no good, in either a micro sense or a macro sense, to dwell on what I have already lost or might yet lose in this life.

So the mental fight isn’t to banish inner demons or turn away from negative illusions. (I’ve had those fights at times in my past.) It’s to stare the reality of my life in the face and carry on with strength, love and positivity regardless.

Cancer changes one. Profoundly. One of the biggest changes for me has been my sense of a lost future. I will probably spend the rest of my life living in the eternal now, whether that’s two more years or forty-two more years.

There are worse fates, and I’ve learned a lot, but the tuition has been too damned high.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] The mental fight

  1. Anthony says:

    Once again, you’ve put in coherent words what I have felt, and more to the point, what I know my mother felt during her battle with lung cancer and the metastasizing of same. People would ask her how she could still go to work every day knowing the prognosis was terminal. Her answer was always a variation on the “Just because I know what’s coming doesn’t mean I have to dwell on it every moment.” And she, like you, had her moments.

    Thanks, Jay. I won’t say reading your cancer posts makes me feel better — how could it? — but it does make me think and remember.

    1. Jay says:

      Well, I’m glad it does some good. That’s why I keep putting myself out here – to maybe reach other people, and to maybe help them.

  2. Harald Striepe says:

    I’ts been almost two years since my last chemo, and I have to say it is surprising, how easily we fall back into normal life, although cancer and its horror treatments are a life changing event.

    Of course, there is the recurring nail biter of the check up. Next one for me is in Oct. We hold our breath for those CEA results!
    The reality is that most detection is rather later than we would like…

    Anyway, the point is that life can return to the mundanely normal!

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