Something I’ve started to realize about life, and especially about life post cancer, is that it’s all just a series of highs and lows. We spend the high days on top of the world, and spend the low ones waiting it out until the next high. Over the last week and a half I had a lot of really great days and great moments. I was out of town for Power10 Camp with Recovery on Water, and then took some extra time to go stay with my aunt and uncle in Northern Wisconsin for a few days. I hadn’t spent that much time outside probably since I worked as a camp counselor in college! I rowed, paddleboarded, swam, kayaked, went on walks, and shared a lot of love and laughs with people really near and dear to me.
But then I came home. Don’t get me wrong – my husband and I just moved into our new condo and I was so excited to be home and start getting the place set up and cozy, but this week was also my monthly Zoladex injection. I’ve been getting these every 4 weeks since November 2018 (and I was getting monthly Lupron before that), and I suppose I’m pretty used to it. However, this week there was just something extra hard-hitting about being back in the infusion center. It certainly didn’t help matters when the nurse had to have me confirm that there is zero chance I could be pregnant… and then ask me when my last menstrual cycle was… (insert eye roll here). Usually I brush these questions off and don’t let it bother me, but this week – it bothered me. I know they are just doing their job, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a punch to the gut. That little exchange, plus a few other personal things that I won’t share here, was enough to put me back into a low.
Pre-cancer diagnosis I’ve always had some tendencies toward anxiety; nothing to the point where I didn’t feel I could manage it, but a cancer diagnosis understandably can shift your mental state long term. I find that it doesn’t take as much to make me feel anxious, or even feel really down. On the flip side – I appreciate the little things in life more, and it doesn’t take much to make me feel really joyful and grateful.
So that brings me back to where I started – life seems to be a series of highs and lows. I guess what I’m trying to learn is how to navigate the lows so that life and joy isn’t sucked out of me. The lows are inevitable, regardless of whether or not you have cancer. There are going to be really rough days, months, and even years in life. But if you can reach out for help, practice some self care, and believe that the good will come, then hopefully you’ll see you aren’t alone in this. None of us are, though it often will feel like it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel incredibly alone and upset after my injection yesterday, but I know that’s a trick my brain plays on me when I get down.
How do you guys manage the highs and lows of life? Do you have someone you talk to? Do you dive into problems head on or separate yourself for awhile? What works for you? You never know – what you share might be a life-changer for someone else! Leave a comment, or drop me a line on Instagram at @affirmationsfromcancer.