This is my story of learning how I grieved my old-self and finally was free to start living again and enjoying the new me.
This is a personal journey and it is a process that will take time. In order to move past your illness you are going to have to accept what you had just experienced and be able to accept the new you. In order to do this it's going to reflect the 5 stages of grief.
I say this, because you are not the person you once were before treatment. Something changed inside you once you heard your diagnosis. The fighter inside you came out and then the survival mode kicked in to get you through what you needed in order to survive.
Denial is the first stage and for me I wanted so much to be me. Old Linda who was relaxed, patient and a juggler in life with work, family and friends. After my treatment and on the road to recovery I struggled so much in all areas of my life. I had no energy and my new way of life was just beginning. I had so many side effects like floaters in my eyes, my mind was struggling with sensory overload and I would just start yelling at my kids for just being kids. The foods that I once loved couldn't even be tolerated anymore and I just hurt all over and at random times. My doctor didn't seem to help me with any of this and just wanted to send me to different doctors.
This is what led me into the anger state, because no one was hearing me. When they did hear me they did not know what to say, because I didn't even know what I wanted to hear. Denying what I had just gone through and being angry led me to my own self-pity party of bargaining. Why me? What lesson did I need to learn? It was such a weird thought process to enter. I always had faith on my side and knew that this would pass, but I was so upset that I couldn't do what I used to be able to do. The easiest tasks seemed the hardest for me. Even speaking was difficult and fumbling my words or completely losing my focus mid conversation was completely embarrassing for me.
I decided to start therapy and once I started speaking to someone it was easier for me to get my frustrations out with a stranger and not have to worry about them feeling sorry for me or uncomfortable for them to listen to me. By time I made it to therapy I was already in my depression phase. I was a high functioning depressed person.I got out of bed and performed like a robot and I was over achieving just to hide my sadness away from people closest to me. I just wanted to be me and feel like me and be able to enjoy life like me and when I couldn't I would just snap at anyone around, because I couldn't take it anymore. I turned to anti-depressants and didn't notice anything till about a month in. I was having fun or at least I thought. I was making plans, starting work and engaging with my friends and family till I finally realized wow, I am not feeling anything at all. They completely numbed me out.
The smile I had on my face wasn't real, but it was there and the fun that I thought I was having was actually the emptiness of no emotions. Honestly, it was what I needed at that time. It was part of my recovery and healing process. I stopped the pills and decided to take control over my own life. This is how I came up with Cancer Ninja.
A ninja is a fighter, but they are also secretive and poised and the battle goes on with no one really noticing unless you are in the fight. That was me in the fight of my life being poised and secretive with all my pains, feelings, concerns as I battled it out ninja style.
I created Cancer Ninja to be a community where fellow cancer warriors can share in a safe place of understanding and to be able to learn how to live the life they deserve after battling this illness.
The last stage is acceptance and I still struggle with this one. I wish I could tell you that all is well and I finally moved on, but I can't. Since I never went into NED which means no evidence of disease means that I still need to get blood work done every 4 months and a PET scan 2x a year since I am on watch and wait status.
This keeps me in a stuck phase and I struggle sometimes with really moving on, but I am working on it and taking steps to take power back over my life and that is why Cancer Ninja is helping me heal myself so I can help heal others.
We all have super powers and battling any illness is strength from within!
Remember that.......my Ninja's