Release


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I’m so incredibly sad.

It’s not just losing my hair.  I cut it short a couple of days ago, but it’s coming out by the handfuls every time I comb it or even touch it.  The clippers are out and ready to go along with a cute colorful scarf I bought last year, long before I knew I was about to embark on this journey.  So a buzz is in my immediate future, and not the good kind. (The photo above is what I just pulled out from the back of my head in a minute or two while contemplating this post….there would be more if I kept at it….but I’m making a mess here….)

It’s not the sores on my chest or on the roof of my mouth.  It’s not the three days I spent in the hospital earlier this week, or the antibiotics that give me headaches.  I know dodged a bullet by getting help before catching something while all my counts were extremely low, and my time in reverse isolation wasn’t really “difficult”as much as surreal.  Haven’t spent time in a hospital since my youngest was born 28 years ago.

I’m definitely NOT looking forward to it, but it’s not the idea of Round 2 coming up this Friday, or that I haven’t had the “upswing” of a bunch of really good days between rounds that I had hoped to experience.  With 5 rounds to go, maybe I’ll experience that next time.

No, this sadness is all of the above and none of the above….something inclusive and yet nameless that leaves me wanting to just lay down and not move for hours at a time.  For someone like me, someone used to being busy and active and engaged, who went into this deal feeling healthy and vibrant, that’s a little scary.  It’s not like me.  None of this is “like me”.

I haven’t even felt like writing….and I’m barely praying.  “Please, God” happens a lot.

Its almost as if I’m disintegrating right before my very eyes…dissolving….and, I suppose, in a way I am.  I am no longer the woman I was and I’m not yet the woman I will be.  When I look in the mirror, I never know who I’m going to see because I don’t look like “ME”.  Having experienced a Dark Night of the Soul before, my hunch is that I am now entering into a Dark Night of the Body.  Which effects the Soul, wouldn’t it?  The spirit?

I’m doing my best to remain grateful in the midst of a physical shit storm the likes of which I’ve never experienced.  For example, I’m grateful I didn’t puke my guts up after Round 1.  I’m grateful for family and friends that are so very supportive, kind and loving.  And patient!  Especially my husband, who is staying steady even when I swing from snappy to weepy to sleeping and back again.

I’m extremely grateful that I don’t have to work through this ordeal.  Financially we’re okay with my disability checks.

And right now – at this very moment – I am ecstatic for the torrential downpour happening right outside my window.  We’ve had a storm front move into SoCal these last couple of days, and the much needed rain is a BLESSING to my home state.  And for me personally, the dark clouds and the blustering winds and the sheets of water match the firestorm raging on inside of me….cooling me.  Bringing relief and calm and release.

Release.  How many times a day to I pray for release?  Release from the pain.  Release from the funky shit going on with my body.  Release from all the months of treatment still in front of me.  Release from the lethargy.

My friends keep telling me how strong and brave I am…how much courage I’m displaying, and what great attitude I’ve held.  Today, I don’t feel any of those things.  Perhaps it’s just been a really long week filled with some really stressful and traumatic experiences.  Maybe after I shave my head later tonight I will feel some of the “empowerment” I keep hearing about.  Maybe I will have a few better days until Friday.

Maybe.

18 thoughts on “Release

  1. I am so sorry for what you are going through. My Step-Mother is 10 years our from 2 surgeries and a grueling round of chemo then radiation for breast cancer. We were talking yesterday about how with all that breast cancer entails why is losing your hair so difficult. She said its because your hair is part of your identity. She tried a wig but, hated it so she wore head scarves until her hair grew back. I will be sending you good vibes. What you are going through is tough….don’t be afraid to feel what you need to feel and let everybody love you to pieces. You are going to be OK. XOXOXO!

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    • Thank you so much, Trish..I’m happy your step mom is through treatment…i still have radiation in fromt of me as well…but it helps to hear about the other women who have walked through this fire and got to the other side. Hair is so important…if it was only about that. Having such drastic physical changes would be easier if I felt better, and visa versa. But today i am not feeling too bad and so will shave the rest of my hair off and just be done with it. Xox. Many blessings to you and yours

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Everything passes … And maybe there will be a better day tomorrow … And you’ll shave your head and are amazed at how your naked raw beauty still shines from within. Take heart my friend. Don’t beat yourself – the poison in your body is doing that already. Thank you for sharing where you are. Sending light and lightness your way. Hugs. xo

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  3. Oh my Grace, I have not been around so did not realize what you are going through. Last month I cut my hair very short and have an appointment next week for my next appointment. In your honor, I will tell my hairdresser to pull out the clippers. In my small way, from the other side of the country, I hope this tiny gesture will send positive vibes of healing to you. You will remain in my thoughts and I will send as much positive healing your way as possible.

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    • Omg…..Indigo….what an amazing gesture of love and support. Even if you decide not to do it (with my full ok btw!!!) i want you to know how much this touched me, and i have tears in my eyes as I type this. No one has made such an offer and its blowing my mind. Thank you for the incredible thoughfulness and generosity. Xox love you

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  4. There are no words of mine to help you through this time of deconstruct. Only love and a holding you in my heart. We can surround you and hold space for you. Only you can walk the trail of tears and sorrow, holding fast to Grace.

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  5. Grace.. I will be back tomorrow my friend to leave my thoughts.. Its late here and my thoughts need to be unscrambled so I can leave you some energy… My sister went through this stage.. Until tomorrow.. Love to you.. Sue x

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    • Sue, it’s always good to hear from you…and whether your schedule allows you to come back or not, just know that I did feel some very positive energy coming my way through your post. xox

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  6. Prayers and hugs going out to you. Your body is going through some trials – of course it is demanding that you spend a lot of time lying down and being quiet. Listen to it. You will not help by pushing it to do excessive things that it doesn’t feel like doing. I am also glad for you that you don’t have to work through this. Thank you for updating us. Please write again when you feel up to it, even a few lines.

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    • Thank you, Jen…for all of that. After writing this post…I felt a certain relief. It reminded me of the cathartic and healing power of just writing what I’m feeling. It’s interesting that I’ve written through every other major issue in my life, and I believe I need to take the time to write about this. I guess part of me just doesn’t want to sound like “the whining chick with cancer”…..But I could be writing about some of the other things I have been experiencing and thinking about. Xox Thank you for your kind support.

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  7. Dear Grace,
    As promised I am back.. :-)

    I think I told you before that my sister had a mastectomy age 36.. Well she went

    Dear Grace,
    As promised I am back.. :-)

    I think I told you before that my sister had a mastectomy age 36.. She is now 53, Well she went through all the treatment, Chemo, and back in the 90’s it was not as well advanced a treatment as it is today.. No cosmetic surgery, and four young children.
    Some days her days were like yours so low at ebb.. What kept her going was her family.. Her Will.. And she kept singing all day long..
    Remember the Song ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy” This was her mantra..

    I have also added the words of poem I wrote when I was going through a period of my own dark moments..
    I hope you too Grace with find the’ Faith Within’
    To help pull you up through these dark times… With much love to you my friend.. Hang on in there and know YOU CAN and WILL Beat this and come out shining at the other side..

    Faith
    My life so far has been so good
    Although at times I couldn’t see trees for wood
    I’ve had my troubles and I’ve had my pains
    But through it all more strength I’ve gained.
     
    You see I have this Faith unseen
    That is always with me, wherever I’ve been
    That inner voice that talks me through
    It’s there in all, it’s there in you
     
    I’ve seen the darkness of despair
    Where I would hide, and not comb my hair
    I’ve cried until my eyes ran dry
    I’ve raged and cursed, and would want to die
     
    But even in those darkest days
    I now recall in memories haze
    My Faith was such, I spoke with God
    As to why upon my road I trod.
     
    I see it now, I see it clear
    And as with each new passing year
    I give my thanks to all I share
    For richness abounds beyond compare
     
    I just open up my eyes and See
    That all God’s gifts are here for me
    The Miracles of all new life
    Of loving children, a much loved wife.
     
    To cuddle close in firelight glow
    Within the arms of love and know
    That you are safe, secure and free
    And feel the peace wash over me.
     
    My Faith inside keeps me strong
    To help keep love, to heal, and belong
    All comes right, if you Believe
    And with my Blessings,
    I now leave..

    <https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/all-we-need-is-a-little-faith/

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  8. Oh Grace. My heart aches in empathy. I recall these feelings well. The hair loss. Clumps of hair in my hands, brush and shower. Looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. Is is a sad, frightening and disorienting journey into another world; another state of being. Perhaps it will provide some solace to know all of us in cancer support had our hair grow in lush exuberance, like our hairs were resurrecting as fierce warriors.

    I remember reading a poem by another cancer survivor, who scattered her hair out on the lawn for birds to use for their nests, visualizing it providing a soft, warm, life-giving bed for baby birds. I found the ritual grounding and comforting as anything could be during such a time; I hope you will derive some comfort from it as well. Gentle hugs, prayers and love, MW

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