Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Life Sentence

It's not fair. 

I feel like such a brat saying that, but it really isn't. Whilst friends are getting engaged, married, travelling and moving to different countries, I am sitting here, paralysed by fear, wondering if I'm going to die before I'm even 35. 

I've been doing really well lately; managing to put the thought of cancer somewhat out of my mind and get on with things, live well and be happy. But compartmentalisation only works for so long; one twinge, pain or swelling and I'm right back to the ultimate terror. It feels like I'm going to puke my insides out. Or shit them out. Or both.  

I'm so fucking lonely. No-one gets it: no-one possibly can. And what am I supposed to say..."Your petty problems are bullshit compared to the life and death situation I'm faced with, every single fucking day"? Not exactly a conversation starter, or friend maker.

I want to move on, but it's always there. Trying to keep on dreaming after living the worst nightmare, is almost impossible. My life and self have been shattered by the truth of hidden evil, as if I've been taken aside and shown a terrible secret, which can't be unseen, unlearned. No-one else witnessed it and the burden of horror is mine alone. Trying to see beauty when I know the ultimate ugliness of life. Of death. The light ripped out of me; a black hole, leaving me a shadow, a walking greyscale, amidst a populous of human colour.

Smiling is hard. Laughing, even harder: it echoes around my hollow insides, a rattling pinball trying to find the right place to settle. Happiness feels like a lie. Jealousy overwhelms - the envy of those who don't know this fear, who live their lives without the constant threat of being dragged back to hell and wiped off the face of the earth, to be forgotten. The knowledge is a constant noise, a clanging discord of metal on metal. And the pain is an endless reminder, an evil torture, not allowing me to forget for even a second.

Will I ever be carefree again? Will my heart ever know freedom, my mind ever know peace?

Try to remember the worst thing that's ever happened to you and how you couldn't stop thinking about it, for a week, a month, maybe a year? Now imagine being forced to think about it for the rest of your life. There is literally not a minute that goes by, where cancer doesn't invade my thoughts. It's suffocating and exhausting.

So what has brought all this to the fore? For the past couple of weeks, my left axilla (armpit to you ordinary folk) has been sore and uncomfortable. It feels swollen. I can't feel anything specific when I touch it, but when my arm is down by my side, it feels like there's something under my arm, which is how it felt before I was diagnosed, when my lymph nodes were inflamed. All my lymph nodes were removed, so it can't be them. It could be a multitude of things: the sudden heatwave we've had, lymphoedema from the exertion of the running that I've been doing, the new deodorant I tried a few times, cancer. That's what I fucking hate - the extremity of it. It's either "You're totally fine and healthy", or "Yeah, sorry, the cancer's back and you have relive the whole nightmare". One cancer diagnosis is more than any person should ever have to deal with.

I called my nurse at the hospital, but she wasn't there. She should be calling me back tomorrow and I hope she says they can see me quickly and do an ultrasound to see what's going on. Waiting and worrying is excruciating.

Fuck cancer, basically. We all know that we're going to die, but most don't live with the threat of it being imminent. For most, the 'how' is unknown, but for me I've had a glimpse. Is that how I'm going to die? Is that what's coming back for me? I'd rather kill myself than fade to nothing. 

You'll read this, maybe feel sorry for me, think about how terrible it is, then go about your day as normal and forget about itYou don't know how lucky you are. You live in blissful ignorance of the darkness that is always just a whisper away. 

This is my truth. On my worst days, this is my prison.

EDIT: I received what I'm sure was a well meaning comment, but it really upset and infuriated me, so I've disabled comments on this post.

You may also want to read this post, on the aftermath of cancer. 

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