I've fallen apart...plain and simple. I finally feel broken. I realize that I've been broken all along. I was just really good at faking it. I had even convinced myself that I was holding it together...all the while just stuffing every uncomfortable emotion deep down inside. It's how I survived. If I had acknowledged all the emotions I felt I would have fallen apart and you can't fall apart when you're busy trying to fight cancer.
In January I went in for a lung biopsy. A little spot had shown up on my lung and they didn't know what it was. I honestly handled it really well. I experience a little bit of anxiety at the thought of having a needle inserted into my lung but I was so eager to just get the biopsy done and find out what was going on that I couldn't grasp the depth of the situation. I was informed I needed to have someone attend the biopsy with me because complications could include a collapsed lung. The biopsy was done at the imaging center. They placed me in the CT machine and took images to locate the spot on my lung. The doctor came in and asked me how I was doing and asked if I needed any sedatives. I kinda laughed at the idea. I mean...I went through an open biopsy under just a local anesthesia. I birthed three children without pain meds. I can handle a simple needle biopsy. What I forgot to take into consideration is that cancer has caused me to be claustrophobic. It's not an actual fear of small confined spaces. It's the anxiety that comes from knowing that your body is being scanned to see if there is death growing inside of you. Well, I refused the meds and they went ahead with the procedure. I laid down on my stomach in the CT machine. They scanned me, the doctor numbed up my back right under my shoulder blade with a local. He inserted the needle and scanned again to make sure he had it lined up in the right place. They pulled me out and inserted the needle deeper into my lung, scanned again then pulled me out and took 5 samples of my lung. Let me tell you it is the strangest feeling to have a needle inside your lung plucking away pieces. They removed the needle and scanned me again to check for bleeding. The bleeding was minimal and I was so happy to hear this because cancer has it's own blood supply. Minimal bleeding...could I actually let myself hope for the best? I had the biopsy on a Friday and had to wait until the following Tuesday for the results. I was scheduled to go into the pulmonologist's office to receive the results. I thought those 4 days waiting would be horrible. I was able to function normally and not think about it at all. I stuffed that fear deep down and ignored it. Tuesday morning came around and I decided I would go to get the results by myself...another protection. I can do this on my own. If I allow someone to go with me then I will be vulnerable. I can't be vulnerable and ask for help if I'm going to hold it together. And I did hold it together...until it was time to leave for the appointment. Panic...fear...a heavy heart. My heart was racing. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I made the 30 minute drive and didn't remember any of it. My phone rang and I missed the call. It was the pulmonologist's office. I called back immediately but their answering service picked up because they were still out to lunch. The panic set in even worse. Were they calling to tell me to bring someone with me because it was bad news? The only thought going through my head was...I need to be sedated...I need those meds they offered me for the biopsy that I refused...I don't need to be sedated for fear of pain...I need to be sedated for the pain of fear. I walked into the doctor's office. The medical assistant took me back to get my vitals. As we were walking to the exam room the doctor walked past me, paused, gave me a thumbs up and said, "good news". The rest of the appointment flew by. I don't remember much about it other than the fact that the spot on my lung isn't cancer. I walked out of the office and couldn't get to my car quickly enough. As soon as I slid onto my seat and closed the door I began to sob uncontrollably. All of a sudden I was hit with every emotion I had been bottling up for months. I didn't feel happy. I didn't feel sad. I felt broken. I am broken. I've fallen apart.
It's been two months since that appointment and I haven't recovered. For over a year and a half I went through a continuous stream of chaos. I held it together the only way I knew how. Here I am trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces. I haven't blogged. I quit following Facebook. I stopped answering my phone. It took me sometimes days to respond to text messages. Figuring out life after cancer has proven to be the biggest challenge for me so far. I'm supposed to be happy right? I'm cancer free after all. I tell myself...just pick up the pieces and move on...get it together. Apparently it's not that easy. I've picked up the pieces but they're not fitting back together how they did before.
Last night I logged on to Facebook and saw that another one of my sweet friends who was diagnosed with cancer during her pregnancy has found out the cancer is back. Please pray for her. Her name is Adrienne. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer which is the most aggressive kind. I'm angry. She's 30 years old, has a sweet husband and her baby who isn't even a year old yet. They should be worrying about how to treat diaper rash...not having to figure out what treatment can save her life.