Upon my return from the YACC Cancer Retreat last week, I felt both inspired and ready to begin treatment. And then…things shifted.
Last Friday I met with my oncologist, and we decided – given that I am experiencing symptoms – I would begin chemotherapy on December 8 (6 months of Rituximab & Bendamustine), rather than simply Rituximab as per the initial plan.
While the news was difficult to hear, I actually walked away feeling relatively ok with it all – no tears, no anger, no yelling, but rather some semblance of acceptance (or so I thought). In many ways I attribute this reaction to my experience at YACC which helped to normalize the cancer experience for me (Thank you!).
Over the weekend I then began to unpack/process this shifted reality and formulated a lot of questions regarding the next six months – How would I feel? Would I be able to work, and if so in what capacity? What symptoms would I experience? etc. Still, I felt relatively ok with it all. And then came Tuesday morning…
In the grand scheme of things nothing overly traumatic happened – I met with a counsellor, picked up my prescriptions, and checked in to find out more about treatment. And yet, as I was driving to the university, I broke down. The flood gates opened and I cried and cried. It finally clicked: THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! And, while I’ve been relatively positive and optimistic about it all, IT SUCKS!
Today (Wednesday) also served as another reality check. It involved having conversations with some of my colleagues at IICRD and Royal Roads University about reducing my engagement and workload and likely taking a leave of absence. I know stepping away is important to facilitate my healing, and yet I find it difficult to let go of things I have been involved in and are a part of me.
I suppose In many ways I’m trying to hold on to things because it feels as though my identity, and some semblance of knowing what the future holds, are slipping away – I am shedding much of what I thought I knew. Yet, at the same time I also know that I have the unique opportunity to fully discover, explore, and find me. This is where I’m choosing to focus on my energy.
This sucks. This is happening. And I’m choosing to welcome the unknown, let go of control, feel it all, and simply be.