Friday, April 25, 2008

Unicorns and Rainbows

Dear Family and Friends;

I am not depressed.

I had cancer.

Despite my body being exhsausted and in pain, I am feeling emotionally better than I have ever felt in my life. Despite being hyper aware of my own mortality, I feel fanfuckingtastic, and I say that without sarcasm.
I am happy.

I hate having constant diagnoses of depression tossed at me. I hate having to defend my emotional state on a constant basis. I hate hearing,"Maybe you're depressed?" I realize that you care deeply about me. I also realize that you need to validate your own feelings of what I must be going through.

When you look at me, I know I look pained...It's because I am, in fact, in pain.

And, No I don't want to leave my house. No, I don't want to go out to social gatherings. I was separated from my family and my home for over 6 months. I just want to be here in the beautiful silence and comfort with my children. It's what I dreamt about for every second of every day, those 6 months.

I also realize that I don't fit the mold of what you think a cancer patient should look like. I'm not spouting enlightenment or donning pink runners. I laugh at my myself and my situation whenever I can. I have good days and bad days like anyone else.

It feels pretty defeating when I feel horrific and you say I look good or I'm feeling good and you say I must be depressed. When I tell you how I am doing I am telling the truth. I don't really have any reason to make anything up.

Maybe I'm in denial? Maybe I'm kidding myself that things are good...or maybe not. Maybe it's real. The cancer, the treatment, my new chronic conditions. Maybe I've chosen to not worry about it? Maybe I've chosen to love every day possible, whatever it brings?

Yes I am constantly tired. Every cell in my body has been bombarded with chemotherapy. Every cell in my body is healing. Yes my memory is bad. It's called "chemo brain" and is a medically documented phenomenon.

I had cancer, not a cold. That is what you see when you look at me. Don't misinterpret my symptoms or diagnose me. It is what it is.

I realize that the weight of what has happened in my life and my feelings don't seem to match for you. I am just living my life, healing and feeling quietly grateful that I am still here.

I apologize that I'm not shitting unicorns and rainbows....but not really.


Captain Skulduggery Dug said...

Ouch! Just how painful would shitting a unicorn be if it has it's head at the wrong angle.

High Desert Diva said...

rock on girlfriend

trinlayk said...

I've found that people have NO idea how to respond to someone who has struggled with a long illness, or chronic illness.

It's hard to see someone offended when they've said "Oh, you really MUST come to my event." and I have to say "Sorry, I really can't, it's too far away..." or "I'm not up to that much activity right now."

I think it's worse even that some people I really thought were friends blow off my actual physical illness as "depression". Hello, not all fatigue or random pain is "depression" or even depressing.

I'm not taking anti-depressants anymore because they DON'T help, and I'm not depressed. When I WAS depressed it was from the fear, pain and fatigue. It wasn't a separate problem or a cause!

OK thanks for your rant, and sharing your rant space.

Love ya hon, stay in if you want, have some hot cocoa, and do what you want when you want to.

(Can't imagine not seeing my family or dearest friends for 6 months.)

juls said...

Amen! For me and my family its anger. My anger. They are over it. I think I still have the right to be pissed off. (Now and then- I mean I live, I work, I smile and socialize, but when someone hits a nerve- they get a reaction from me! I keep saying its phase, right? As you said, I'm getting used to my "new normal" as my therpist (who is very healthy and perky) used to say.
oh well.