My 5 year bone marrow transplant cancerversary is coming up quickly. I've been scarcely able to believe my life has changed so much in 5 years. Five years ago I had three young sons at home, I would get carded for liquor and I felt I had everything under control. I had a future, I had goals and a beautiful life spreading out in front of me. I lived in a beautiful place, had friends, savings in the bank and even a love. Everything was turning out correctly for my master plan.
I had worked incredibly hard for years to gain the opportunities that were laid out before me. I was applying for and expecting a big fat scholarship for my MBA degree which I was going to take over seas, giving my sons a new experience and view of the world.
I felt I could do anything, really, anything. The world was waiting for me.
Now? I see a big blank pace where my life used to be. In all my planning and preparing for success in my life, I had gotten to the age of 35 in my mind. I hadn't really developed an idea or concept of what I would be doing afterwards. Now I'm 38 and I could never in my worst nightmares have imagined this.
First cancer and then living with graft/vs/host disease. I have managed to finally get back to work and am very pleased about that but I still can't imagine my future. I feel like I am in the final stages of my life, how I would expect to be thinking in my 80's yet I'm 38. My body seems so old now. One minute I was on a date with a 24 year old (not my love) and then 6 months later I was getting mocked on the ferry by the same guys that would have been trying to pick me up before. How did I go from looking 24 to like a soccer mom in 5 years? My hair is thinner, wrinkles have moved in as well as 30lbs.
I really hate myself. I realize this is depression from long term illness creeping in but where the hell am I? What am I doing?
Instead of three sweet little boys who need me, I have one adult son, 21, and two self absorbed teenagers. They don't need me. They need their friends, their girlfriends and I am now the person that keeps them from having fun. This was a developmental phase I was completely prepared for before I became incapacitated, but now in this vulnerability it seems very difficult. One girl that's here often loves to make comments about how old and ugly certain people are. There was an actual comment once about, who cares if a commet killed us in __ years because they would be SO old anyway. The age they were talking about was 38. These stupid little comments shouldn't hit me so hard, but they do. I feel disfigured even though I look my age.
I have had a lot of adversity in my life but I plowed through, confident in the knowledge that I could tackle any mountain. Now the mountain is on top of me. The more time goes by the harder this seems. I was confident I would be better in a year, then in another year, then in another. Now I am not confident of anything.
I have read books on cancer and mortality, I have read books on recovery and loss, recovering art and creativity, I even recently read the entire set of Twilight novels. This in itself is a huge accomplishment because I couldn't read for almost 4 years post transplant. My brain was scrambled and the pages of words would scramble as I tried to read and retain them. As a child I would devour a novel a day.
I am a fixer. I need to fix problems that crop up in my life, I tackle them like they are marshmallow peeps in front of a hungry toddler. As much as I try and tackle this post cancer life problem, I feel like I'm trying to fill a bottomless pit with shovels full of feathers.