I love my husband, my children and my grandchildren. But I feel lost. Wondering who "I" am - to me. Does that make any sense at all?
It has been a year since I heard the diagnosis of "cancer". Almost a year since I had the surgery and received the path report with a good prognosis. But does that negate the fact that "cancer" came first? Or that the thoughts and fears of "cancer" remain?
I heard it said that "I may have cancer, but cancer will never have me" ... a most excellent saying, may I add. And it was one of the first things I said a year ago. However, I now realize that it is a daily (and sometimes hourly) struggle to keep it that way!!! There are those moments in the midst of the loneliness that i just know "cancer" is going to swallow me up. It is in those moments that i hear the song - "Even If ..." by Kutless, over and over in my heart, my mind and my spirit. I am so thankful in those moments that God loves me and sings over me!
I also said that having to have a cancer hysterectomy was a blessing, not a threat to my womanhood. And it was a true blessing in every sense of the word! However, I realize that this too is a struggle to keep telling myself that I am still a "woman" - even without all my junk! Why does this bother me? I honestly do not know. This has not changed the way I look - but it has certainly changed the way I think and feel. Hormones alone? or lack thereof? sigh ...
The one thing that seems the hardest for me to accept at times? That since I had surgery and received a good prognosis that it no longer seems to matter to anyone. Not that I want others to hover over me ... not that I want constant attention. But occasionally to have someone ask how am I doing??? That would be nice. Sigh. (I'm sorry - I know that sounds selfish. But honestly, I don't mean it to be ...sigh.)
I know that I am Rick's wife ... his friend ... and his caregiver. I love him ... how wrong and selfish is it to miss those days when he didn't need me as a caregiver? When we shared the care-giving to one another? Sigh. I'm sorry.
I fear that I am losing my identity in all of this.
Sometimes I just feel like screaming - "I am still a real person! I have thoughts and feelings! I have dreams and hopes and desires! I even have needs! I am not just a third arm of his to dangle at his side until he needs or wants something!!!" But then I realize that all the screaming and kicking and fighting will not change what is going on in our lives.
To live with an illness/disease that has no obvious "look" to it - I never realized just how difficult that is.
Rick looks healthy. And unless you see the catheter in his tummy? You wouldn't know by looking at him that there are any health issues at all. (Except for being overweight.) His shoulder doesn't look injured, either.
I look at myself in the mirror, and except for the swelling and discoloration of my lower legs - I look healthy. Well, except for being overweight.
And if we "look" healthy to ourselves and to one another, yet we know how we each feel ... we realize how that we appear to those around us.
We seem to stay frustrated with ourselves, and with one another - because we do look healthy, but we aren't. We look like we can do anything and go anywhere. But we have so many limitations on us - and we are reminded of that ... whenever we take a step, when we try to do anything.
Rick weighed in this morning, and he is at the heaviest he has been in a LONG time. He isn't swollen, and the UF numbers on the cycler are high. So, it isn't fluid - it is weight. He is discouraged and frustrated about it. Lord, help him to see that he needs to take responsibility for his health and his weight. And that he CAN do better!!! I cannot do it for him - but what a "perfect" opportunity for us to work together and be the support and encouragement for one another ... sigh. Lord, please.