I just… I can’t even open Facebook lately without getting triggered, I can’t watch or listen to the news, I feel so much rage inside and I’m just stuffing it until I choke on it. Personal accounts of sexual assault, news about the dismantling of justice, never mind reading the comments of anything. It’s exhausting and frightening and I want to give it my attention, and my outrage, and my personal action, but my system is overwhelmed.
I cry so much at my therapist’s office, and then I leave and stuff it all back in, and I don’t think about it, because cancer. My new full-time job. It feels like I’m at the hospital almost every day for one thing or another. And it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the month of October. Just… in case I wasn’t aware.
Everywhere I turn it’s either: triggering date rape stories, or men getting a pass just because they are men (as I’ve known my entire life) or women getting vilified just because they are women (again nothing new), and “don’t you think you were kinda asking for it?”, and “oh hey, don’t fucking forget, you have fucking cancer.” Right.
So I numb myself by playing a mesmerizing mobile device game that I don’t even want to play sometimes, it just happens. I try to avoid opening Facebook, I avoid the news, I avoid reading my beloved books even, because feelings and emotions are tricky and my books are full of them. I read a little, non-fiction, about cancer treatment and relationships and what to expect, and I read some of the personal accounts of sexual assault because it’s important, and I wonder how I will feel in a week or a month or a few months, and I wonder how it could possibly be very different from today.
I’m going to the hospital tomorrow for CT scans and bone scans. I meet with my oncologist on Thursday to hear whether she thinks I need chemo therapy. I will be having surgery again on Monday, to place expanders under my skin to make room for my new non-lethal breasts. I met with my radiologist on Friday to hear about what radiation therapy is going to look like. Five and a half weeks of daily radiation, except weekends. Every day, for a half hour, as they try not to radiate my lungs, they will put me in a body-sized mold that will place me at the same proper angle every time, and how many times will I hear “oh, radiation is a breeze!” from well-meaning people, and yet, slogging through it, I’ll bet now that it’s not a breeze.
I wanted to make a post talking about the weeks following my mastectomies, and the people that have helped me through it, and the awesome self-care I’m trying to practice, but I’ve put it off. I’ve put it off because Kavanaugh overtook the headlines, and powerful men jumped to minimize the women that braved the scrutiny that speaking up requires, and the women that voted to put him on the court turned a blind eye to fulfill their agenda, and the rage fills me and I close the apps that are so relentless in their bad news, and I don’t write, I don’t dwell, I don’t do anything that would be helpful.
So, this isn’t exactly the post I wanted to write, but it’s probably the post I needed to write. I welcome the autumn, I love the rain, but I miss the warm weather that made my August so peaceful on my deck as I contemplated having cancer and how it felt and how to make sense of it in my head. I miss feeling peaceful.
I love my husband, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my furry babies 🐶, and I love my life in the bigger picture. I appreciate the unexpected kindness of both friends and strangers. I appreciate the support from everyone. I even love that the emotional traumas from my past have made me a stronger, more resilient, person than I might have been otherwise. I’ve forgiven the people that didn’t respect my body and my right to choose who touched it, or how, but I haven’t forgotten. I forgive the people that forgot to teach me that I was allowed to have boundaries, that I should have boundaries, how to have boundaries, why we should have boundaries. But I still haven’t learned to assert boundaries very well. I overshare, I let too much pass, I try to be perfect all the time, and it’s exhausting.
I see the inherent irony of posting this, especially on facebook, given all that. As you can see, I still have a lot to learn. I hope that my newly-minted college student niece doesn’t encounter the situations I did in college. I can only pray that this spotlight on sexual trauma is changing the culture for the better.
For me, it’s peace-out for a little bit while I concentrate on healing and not on being overwhelmed and full of inner rage. I’ll probably make a short (haha, who am I kidding?) post about the results of all my tests and my surgery/recovery when I can. Hug your peeps and your pets. Tell them you love them! And when someone bares their heart and reveals their trauma, please believe them. The potential price of telling our stories is too high to want to lie about it. We don’t tell our stories because we particularly want to, we do it because we feel we must. We do it to heal, to teach, to learn.
Thanks for reading. Sending love to you! ❤️