If you need to refresh your memory, please refer to the blog “Why Meghan Writes” from October 29, 2015. You might also want to check out the guest blog Meghan did here from December 14, 2015.
Meghan is writing again and has given me permission to share her writings. Feel free to respond to Meghan’s column; she would love hearing from people. Here is a link to her website. Here is a recent post:
Three years….now what?
August 12th marked three years in remission. Three years since my knees buckled and I hit the floor of my parent’s house. Three years since I felt the most thrilling feeling of my life. I felt fearless, invincible, unstoppable. In that moment, I had just beat cancer at 24 and I had a whole life ahead of me to do anything.
I remember watching a Grey’s Anatomy episode during chemo and hearing the following quote, “It goes away. The feeling. That feeling you have right now….today….that feeling like you can do anything. That clarity…it goes away. And you go right back to bring the coward who can’t tell the person you love how you feel.”
I remember almost feeling angry at the TV. I remember wishing at the time that I’d hear the word remission and I’d forever be grateful. I wouldn’t ever forget that feeling. I would never forget what I had to go through and I’d be damned if I took for granted the second chance I received.
Fast forward three years and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at myself on my three year “remissionversary.” I had lost that feeling. More importantly, I had lost the confidence that came with it.
Three years have passed and I am still trying to heal from what cancer did to me. I’m still healing physically, and more importantly, I’m healing mentally. I am healing from what therapists call trauma, but from my other doctors just call bad luck. That’s what Hodgkin’s was, after all. Just the short straw I drew. Nothing I could’ve done to prevent it.
I dealt with mental health issues long before cancer. ADHD from childhood, anxiety and depression during a bad relationship, anxiety disorders and OCD that spun out of control from more bad relationships. Somehow, though, I’ve never talked to you about that. Mental health seems so much harder to speak about. It’s strange because I opened up to you about my most private thoughts through chemo. Hell, even telling you about my sucidal thoughts wasn’t hard. But to speak about mental health and the aftermath cancer leaves on you…that seems difficult.
So here I am, three years later, and the list of disorders I’ve received from therapists includes: ADHD, depression, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, sensory processing issues, OCD tendencies, and panic disorder. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing. This is the list that’s been formed overtime, by many, many therapists.
Three years later and I have lost loves, friendships, and most importantly, time. I have skipped my kid’s events, family reunions, classes, and work because somedays, whether it’s physical or mental, the pain is just too much.
This past year, I started to make big changes for myself. Unfortunately I got scared, I doubted myself and my progress, and I returned to the comfort of my own bad thoughts because at least I know what to expect there. Change is scary, no matter who is doing it. For me, post cancer, it’s become even scarier. What if I fail? What if I succeed, but then the cancer comes back? What if I spend time on school and then something happens to my health? Won’t I wish that time had been spent on my kids, and not my education? But what if I spend all my time on my kids and my health stays good? Then will I regret not getting an education? The doubting and second guessing these past three years has affected every part of my life.
I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people in my life and the one thing that is constant is the advice to do things for my own happiness. To figure out the woman and mother I want to be first before worrying about where all the other pieces lie. I know this won’t be an easy feat because I am constantly trying to make other people happy first.
So to end my long, rambling letter to you, I’ll tell you this. I refuse to feel defeated on my four year remissionversary. I refuse to feel like I wasted another year letting myself down and ruining things in my life due to my own mental state. This next year will be spent making changes. I hope to write to you often during this time. To share my adventures with you. To share my highs and lows. To share my learning experiences.
I have more health issues going on currently and for the first time since cancer, I’m going to remain hopeful that they are minor issues. I know I can solve any other diagnosis that comes my way and in the time spent fighting whatever this is, I’m going to learn to love myself and this life again. Stay tuned because it’s time to make great changes and I can’t wait to show you what’s next.
Until next time.