So many feelings lately.
That 6 month-mastect-o-versary really dug up some feelings in me. I think (I know) I’ve been in “panic-mode” since the diagnosis and when you’re panicking – you’re not feeling. You’re just doing.
The last little while I’ve been feeling almost normal. I can run a few errands. I meet for tea with friends. I can mostly do what I want as long as I’m close to home (in case I get tired). And because life has become a bit of a routine which makes everything feel more normal – I am less panicked and more relaxed. With relaxation – I am now able to feel more and that in itself has been overwhelming.
Gerry said to me the other night that if you didn’t know me and you read my blog it would seem like I was having a fine old time with everything. He says one of the things he loves about me is that I always put a positive spin on everything but sometimes it’s not 100% the truth.
Truth is there are so many tears lately and it’s because I’m so full of fear.
Fear that Gerry’s going to get hit by a car when he goes out on his motorcycle. Fear that something is going to happen to Fergus.
Fear that something is going to happen to my Dad. Fear that something is going to happen to my friends in Toronto and I can’t fly to see them if they need me because I’m stuck here doing chemo/radiation until 2014.
Fear that I’m never going to be healthy again. Fear. Fear. Fear.
And a little regret. Regret that I didn’t walk around in tight T shirt with no bra on and be all like “Hey look at my fantastic boobs“. I can never do that. Ever.
I mean … I never ever would do that ha ha 🙂 but now I never ever can. Even if I had reconstructive surgery on my missing breast and I had fantastic Sophia Loren type boobies – that breast would have a history to it that my former carefree breasts didn’t.
I am mournful for the days of carefree breasts.
Prosthetic breasts and mastectomy bras are a hassle. Not wearing one is a hassle. It’s all a big stupid hassle and I’m sick of it.
Thank Dog for the change in weather! Things are cooling off and I’ve been able to do more during the day.
Top of my list is I try to go for a walk on the beach every day with Fergus.
It’s really good exercise for him (and for me). Walking is also great mental therapy as I am able to think things out on the beach – in a way I can’t do anywhere else. Today’s weather was so moody and stormy that I was looking so forward to getting to the beach.
The ocean was very dramatic today. The waves were crashing as Fergus chased seagulls. The salt air tickled my cheeks while I walk-out my stress and let my fears be washed away by the waves.
I got all bundled up in a big hat/scarf/hoodie combo to keep the wind off my face. My skin is so delicate right now because of chemo that I have to protect it from all the elements. I probably looked like I was going on an expedition to the North Pole but I wanted to be cozy.
Fergus and I did the full length of the beach and on the walk back to the car I kept noticing a solo guy looking over at me. We were walking close to the same pace and he kept glancing in my direction.
That’s when I put my earbuds in my ears and moved up and away from him onto the sidewalk … I don’t have time for creepers.
Fergus stopped to take a poop and as I was searching through my purse for a baggie the creeper came over and started talking to me. I pretended I couldn’t hear/see him because of my earbuds and I bent down to pick up the poop.
Then he leaned into my line of sight and said “Excuse me. Do you have cancer?”
I pulled my earbuds out. “What?”
“Do you have cancer?”
“That’s a personal question. Why would you ask me that?”
“I noticed that you didn’t have any hair and I thought maybe you had cancer and I could help you…”
That’s when I bailed.
I heard all the alarm bells in my body going off and I quickly turned and walked away from him as fast as I could. WTF?
I moved to a part of the beach where there was more people and I waited for him to pass by me and get far enough ahead so that I wouldn’t catch up to him on the way back to the car.
Part of me was like “What a freak!” but the other part of me was like “Why didn’t you take a second to see what he was offering?”
Truth be told he triggered me. Many many moons ago I was robbed at gunpoint (I wrote about it in the intro to Vegan A Go-Go) and even almost 20ish years later I can feel unsafe and scared for my life in a heartbeat.
The way that guy reached into his pocket. The being alone with a stranger. The way he came into my personal space. He flipped that light switch in me. Trigger. Fear. I panicked and bolted.
It was probably for the best. I mean … I watched him walk around the parking lot from the safety of my car and he was obviously koo-koo but what if I had stood my ground for a few more seconds.
What if I hadn’t let fear propel me away. What if I had stayed and had a conversation with him? Maybe he would have knifed me to death … or maybe I would have met someone amazing.
Point is … because I slammed a door shut in his face – I didn’t let a new experience happen because and old experience made me fearful.
I drove past him on the way home and I ALMOST stopped the car to ask him why he wanted to talk to me about but then I realized that the big picture issue wasn’t about him. What was bothering me was the fear inside of me.
I’ve been in therapy on and off for more years than I can count. I’ve done art therapy, one on one therapy, group counseling, EMDR, etc etc etc. I haven’t been able to dig the fear out. I have so much fear inside my body. Not just from the robbery but from a lifetime of collecting various heartbreak, betrayal and trauma. We all have it to some degree – some more than others.
Mine? It lives deep deep deep inside me and I need to find a way to exorcise it…What does Dexter say? “The only way to kill a Dark Passenger is to take out the Driver.” Wait…Maybe a fictional serial killer isn’t the best person to quote … 🙂
How about Deepak instead? â€œEvery time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.â€
Long story short … I’ve got some work to do.
Thank you for writing this. Fear is something I’ve let into my life and Ive worried that I’m the only one who feels this way! Bless you Sarah! You are an incredible female role model, your books, Instagram and blog are my favorites. Thank you, and best wishes.
Lots of love to you!!! 🙂
Love this post Sarah.
Keep up the good work, things things take time and sometimes a lifetime.
Keep writing, getting it out and inspiring others through your journey.
I keep tabs on you my dear friend and look forward to your posts; your journey takes me back to my Mom’s battle with Cancer and sometimes it brings back emotions I don’t want to feel anymore as well as some I have never allowed myself to feel. I open your blog with hesitation and anticipation afraid of the feelings that will surface. But your strength gives me strength and perspective and my fear disappears.
Keep fighting and keep writing!!
I love you.
Love you V! Nice to hear from you. xoxo
Thank you. xo
I was already a fan because of your books and your humour and your verve, but this entry just took my respect for you to a deeper level. Please always write. You are beautiful and strong in the midst of your vulnerability and rawness.
If your instinct was to push the koo-koo away, it was there for a reason. You did the right thing. I’m sure he meant well, but whatever his intention, he invaded your personal space. He was probably going to suggest some sort of herb or remedy or Reiki or something.
*sigh* The transplanted Torontonian in me is simultaneously fascinated and freaked out by how so many people on the west coast just walk up to people and say outrageous things.
Sounds like the deep fear *is* actually being exorcised. I dig Deepak, but I liked the Dexter quote much better! Is that wrong?
Ha ha. Dexter used to be so cool. What happened?
This was by far my favorite post from you to date. I found it extremely courageous the way you revealed with such honesty your vulnerable side. Being so vulnerable is what makes you so strong. In doing so you inspire others to accept their “shortcomings” (which are probably simultaneously their greatest strengths), and I think this essential in positive transformation. Thank you deeply. Much love to you always sweet vegan sister.
This really resonated with me, Sarah. Thank you.
My love to you + Gerry + Fergus. I’ve been here in your corner rooting for you and will continue to do so!
Sarah…I think you are such a grand cool woman! Brilliant you are writing a blog about your experience! My sister had the same surgery and chemo – never heard a peep from her about any of what she was going through…she held it all inside. It is so refreshing to read your blog about the cancer, the surgery, your dogger, your husband and how it is impacting them and you…I have never met you and yet I feel like I know you. You are a total inspiration – I know I’ve said that before but it is just the simple and complete truth. Have never known a woman to be so brave and open about everything. Wow!
Smooches to you!
I could really relate to this post on a lot of levels. I think you and I are going through the same kind of horror/regret/mourning at what has happened in our lives this year. It’s completely different of course, but then again the way you were talking about never ever being able to go braless, forever. I have those feelings about other things…
And I think we’ve both looked square on at death and felt genuine terror and are trying to reconcile those feelings with having a normal life somehow. I also panic and think about all the other people in my life I have to lose all the time and can’t stop myself from imagining it vividly, like you said about Fergus and Gerry.
I was also attacked once in the street and I feel like I’m overusing the word terror in this comment but I do actually feel terrified when there are men standing in the street or when they yell things at me, and I have to walk past them. I have been trying so hard to work on it but it’s seriously true fear I feel. I wish more people would consider these kinds of things before they creep on women walking alone.
It’s trauma Nova. Trauma is traumatic. Ha ha. It stays with you forever but that’s ok.
The trick is to remind yourself that you’re ok. In that moment when you are panicking…you are ok and you are safe… I mean… If you’re safe. If you’re not safe then get the hell out of dodge!
We have all been through so much but especially this last year. Our little tattoo zoo family has been really rocked this year.
We are lucky to have each other. We have your back and we know you have ours.
If you ever want to chat about stuff – get in touch. Whatever way is easiest for you. In person, text, email, etcetera.
Grief is hard… But it’s even harder when you go through it alone.
Hope your cold goes away. 🙂