(This is part two of a multi-part series. Read part one here.)
For many, the emotional journey of cancer begins long after treatment ends. Various stages of grief settle in and sometimes with a vengeance. There were days that I was sad and I didn’t know why. And there were times I was just sad because this should have never happened, not to anyone and definitely not to me.
I was unable to grieve during the battle, but once the dust settled, I was in full grieving mode. I have likened it to PTSD in soldiers. They go out to war and do the job that is required. No second thoughts, no rationalizing, no processing what could happen or what IS happening all around them. They just fight. And once they return home the noise stops, the flurry of activity stops and all you are left with is silence. It’s a deafening silence that absorbs life happening around you and leaves only a loud and violent assault of thoughts. Flashbacks to the horrible things that you have witnessed and had happen to leave physical and emotional scars. Flashbacks of events that you wish you could erase, but you are forever changed by their haunting memories.
I spent time in a survivorship group with other survivors that “got” what it was that I was feeling and going through. They were the only ones that could understand the crippling silence of those thoughts. They understood that while everyone else around me had already grieved; been sad, angry, and resolved that I would be ok; I was just now able to go through this important step in healing. So I cried. I cried and grieved the loss of the old me. The person I thought I knew and I thought I was. The person that was me was gone. I had been changed. Who am I? What do I do now? Why am I still here? What does God have for me now?
Many people didn’t understand my decision to not go back to work. And, even if they didn’t say it with their words, I felt it in the tension of the air and the look on their face. But they didn’t know that I was still battling and there was no way I was ready to step back into a funeral home to help grieving families when I was crying and grieving, too.
This is a six part series on my personal emotional, mental, physical, sexual and spiritual healing process of survivorship.
Part Two: Emotions
Part Three: Mental
Part Four: Physical
Part Five: Sexual
Part Six: Spiritual