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Identity Crisis

Hi Everyone!

I think we as Cancer patients are constantly dealing with trying to hold onto ourselves, our very identity, as we are so impacted by chemo side effects, the Cancer itself, and any other ailments we are subject to picking up because of our weak immune system.  I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, as I have had a case of Shingles, and the flu.

I think we all long for the person we used to be, the one who had choices about what they wanted to do, and when.  It is a loss we all face as we go through our treatments and various ailments.  I find myself saying “I want me back.”  It is as though everything is on hold, and we must immerse our body, our very selves, in whatever response we are being forced to have, to whatever side effect or illness is thrown at us.  We are strangers to ourselves.

These same impacts are felt by our caregivers.  Their lives are dramatically altered, as they ride the wave of what we as patients can and cannot do because of our illness and its challenges.  Oftentimes this results in guilt for us as patients, realizing the changes our caregivers have had to make to adjust to our “new normal”.  The simple things from schedule changes, to the limited ability for us to participate in life, affects everyone involved.

If we can stay in the moment, and know that this is just part of the package, and that so many others deal with the same emotional roller coaster, we can take comfort that we are not alone.  If we can talk to our significant other, our family, our friends, our caregivers, sharing our feelings and struggles, we will be comforted, reassured, and validated that our reactions and emotions are totally expected, totally accepted, and totally understandable.

So take each day as it comes, accepting a day spent in bed (or days spent in bed), a day when you can poke around a bit, then rest, a day when you feel up to taking a ride or a walk, or one of those days that are gifts, when you feel pretty good, and can do a few things.  And know that you are loved, understood, and not alone.

“Til Next Time,