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Sometimes My Cancer Diagnosis Still Hits Me Like a Ton of Bricks

Every now and then, I am reminded about the magnitude of my cancer diagnosis. I mean really reminded. Despite the way breast cancer is too often (ad nauseum) portrayed, I understand the seriousness of this potentially deadly disease all too well. I’ve seen the horror of it up close.

I understand what my diagnosis means. I know I will never be in the clear. Not totally. But I go about living my life. I move forward each day. I live my life. I do stuff. I don’t do stuff. I’m changed. I’m not changed. I forget. But I never forget.

Just like you, I go about the business of living my life.

And then unexpectedly, it hits me like a ton of bricks.

It’s like cancer doesn’t want me to feel too relaxed for too long.

You might think since I blog about cancer, read numerous (I have no idea how many) cancer blogs, have written three books about cancer, read cancer books other people write, watch cancer movies and TV shows about cancer and deal with cancer treatment fallout every single day, I wouldn’t be surprised by the weight of this ton of bricks when it unexpectedly hits.

But sometimes I am still surprised by the sheer weight of it all.

I am surprised by the fact that I am still surprised, if this makes sense. And I’m not sure it does.

I’m still “surprised” every time I walk through my cancer center’s doors and sit in an oncologist’s exam room talking about cancer – my cancer. I’m still surprised when I look at my reflection in the mirror. At times, I’m unrecognizable even to myself. I’m still surprised when I pop my little white pill each morning. I’m still surprised when my toes feel numb and my joints ache so badly I don’t want to step out the door to take the walk I know I must. And on and on…

But there are times when it’s more than a surprise.

There are times when the realities of having had a cancer diagnosis along with a BRCA2+ revelation, hit me like a ton of bricks.

Like the time Dear Hubby and I were joking around about our health issues while contemplating retirement. In a cavalier manner I said to him,

“Well other than the cancer thing, I’ve always been pretty healthy.”

He didn’t find this statement amusing. At all. And he told me so.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Then there was the time I settled in to watch the PBS Documentary, Cancer: the Emperor of all Maladies. In the opening segment when the announcer referred to cancer as one of mankind’s greatest scourges, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I thought to myself, shit, I have had an up close and personal relationship with the scourge. I am part of the damn scourge.

Again, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

And then there was the recent, innocent conversation when Dear Hubby and I were on vacation and I asked him,

“Do you still worry about me dying on you?”

And he said, “Yes. I do.”

His facial expression and tone of voice said way more than his words.

Once again, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I felt badly to still be the cause of such deep worry, even seven years later.

I fully realize my metster friends literally (okay, almost literally), live under the weight of that ton of bricks every single day.

I am lucky.

I am still NED. (no evidence of disease)

Most days I walk around without allowing the weight of cancer to weigh me down too much.

But I know it will happen again and again and probably when I least expect it.

I will again feel that weight of cancer.

And it will hit me like a ton of bricks. Again.

Do you relate?

Whatever you are dealing with, does the reality of it sometimes hit you like a ton of bricks?

What do you do when this happens?

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Sometimes my #cancer diagnosis still hits me like a ton of bricks #breastcancer #health

(Yes, I have a pile of bricks in my yard, doesn’t everybody?)

Ilene

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

A megaton A boatload A metric shit ton A three body trunk load A black hole’s worth

My husband watched the Emperor of All Maladies and was an instant expert on cancer and determined he needed no more education or discussion on the topic

But it hit me like a ton of bricks when he finally stood in our old kitchen one day about two or three years ago and said that my illness was like having to deal with “the longest goodbye.” I tear up still thinking about how that ton of bricks dumped from the back of a truck on

Linda

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

It's always in my thoughts. I had to find a new oncologist (due to moving) and with the virus going on, I did not want to fly back to see my Cali doc. But It's time for Faslodex shots. It took two days, but finally I got the records here and the scheduler called from the new doc and said, "It's very important that we keep these shots on schedule AND that you not travel during this time." A ton of bricks . . . literally.

Nancy

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Linda, I'm so glad you've found a new doctor and can keep to your schedule and not have to fly back to CA. Yeah, talk about a ton of bricks. I hear you. Hope all is going well with all the changes you've been making.

Lynda Marigold

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

I don't consciously think about my cancer all day, every day, but it is never far from my thoughts(sadly). The littlest thing can trigger me, or I can see someone wearing a "pink ribbon" item and feel sad. And then I wonder if the person is a fellow survivor, or has a relative with breast cancer, or.....on and on. At this time, with the Covid 19 pandemic raging, I don't feel it is the right time to talk about my diagnosis, unless asked specifically. There is more than enough pain and sorrow to go around right now, and I AM A SURVIVOR! So I don't talk about cancer, as people are burdened enough. This is a cancer "vacation", of sorts, for me. Am I overthinking?

Nancy

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Lynda, No, you are not overthinking. I've had similar thoughts. I mean, should I even be blogging about my cancer experience when as you said, there is more than enough pain and sorrow to go around right now. Having said that, it's still important for everyone to be heard and everyone's pain/situation/whatever to be validated. It ALL matters. Thank you for reading and taking time to comment too. Stay well.

Bev

Tuesday 29th of May 2018

Yes, this. I love the way you wrote this.

I often wonder, am I the only one who feels this way? I mourn my old self and feel guilty at the same time for not just plain being grateful to be alive.

But most days I live . . .

Nancy

Wednesday 30th of May 2018

Bev, You're definitely not the only one. Like I responded to Tanya, you are allowed to grieve and miss the old you and to feel grateful at the same time. Emotions are complex and we can feel a whole bunch all at the same time. Thank you for reading and taking a minute to comment. My best to you.

Tanya

Tuesday 29th of May 2018

When I completed chemo for Stage 4 ovarian cancer, I thought i’d go back to Normal Life. But Normal didn’t exist anymore. Every day I’d be overwhelmed with grief about the self I used to be. I thought I just wasn’t doing survivorship right and was waiting for the spiritual revelation that would transform me into a self-assured survivor who had learned Great Lessons from my cancer experience. This blog and the many many women and men who respond have helped me realize that there is no “right” way to survive and the journey may take me further but may never be over.

Nancy

Wednesday 30th of May 2018

Tanya, Oh yeah, those lessons...they escape me still. You're right of course. There is no right way to do any of this stuff. Remember, it's normal to grieve for the old you and to feel grateful at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

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