the end of the world as we know it

Half of the country is hiding from a massive storm and here I am, worrying (obsessing, rather) over my upcoming surgery. I can’t decide if it’s totally fitting that nature’s turmoil is mirroring the terror I’m feeling, or if I should stop focusing on my totally first-world problems when I should be sending thoughts and good vibes to everyone affected by the hurricane/storm/earthquake/tsunami/End Times.

Really, though, I’m pretty freaked out. “Freaked out” seems to be my phrase of choice, really the best way to describe it. I’m not sad, exactly; I was sad years ago when my test results came back positive and I knew surgery was inevitable. I’m not angry, although I am frustrated that I of all people have to deal with this. I’m just worried, terrified, freaked out.

I feel as though I’m dying. Every time I do something, I wonder if it’s the last time. I struggle to fall asleep at night because all I can think is what if I can never sleep on my side again? What if this is one of the last good nights of sleep I’ll ever get? Today I left work and noticed the gross weather and thought it was perfect sitting-on-the-couch weather, and then thought what if this is one of the last days I’m able to sit and relax comfortably on the couch? Every time I drive, exercise, get dressed, walk to/from the bus, put on shoes, wash my hair, laugh, work, etc. – every time I do anything – I wonder if it could be the last time.

For most people, those things come back in time. People eventually find a way to sleep in ways other than on their back. People drive again, exercise again, shower and bathe and do everything they did before. But there are always outliers, people who don’t ever get back to “normal.” I hear that, no matter what, you end up with a new normal – and we all know how much I love hate change. The lucky ones get back to their lives and stop being defined by their mastectomy.

The unlucky ones? Well, that’s what scares me – there are unlucky ones. It is a death of sorts, the end of one life and beginning of a new one. I could end up physically disfigured. I could end up emotionally traumatized. I could end up physically disabled in some way, incapable of executing on the daily tasks I take for granted now. Of all of those things, I can’t decide which would be the worst, but I don’t think I’m capable of handling any of them gracefully.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next eight days. I don’t know how I’m going to get through any of the days after that, or what my life will look like.

I won’t get breast cancer in my life time (probably). I can only hope that whatever I give up in exchange is a fair trade-off.


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