Today started out well, then I was sitting here doing some unpicking of a waistband on a pair of pants I'm altering, because they've gotten too big for me, and began thinking about my partner and I collecting seeds for the rooftop terrace garden, and wondered if I'll even be around next year to garden. Within a short time, my mood has darkened considerably, and I've gone from feeling fairly cheerful and positive to a much more negative frame of mind. I'm wondering if there is any point in doing some of the future planning I've been doing - will I be alive to do these things I'm discussing with friends and family?
I was diagnosed on August 12th, it's now September 21st, and the waiting to get all the tests done in order to stage the tumour, and being told nothing whatsoever until they are all completed, is beginning to wear upon me. I'm trying with all of my might to accept the waiting period as just something which must be endured, and I'll find out when I find out, and not before, but some part of me is straining at the bit and wanting to scream, "Just tell me how far gone the bloody cancer is, will you?"
Patience has never been my strong suit, and waiting to find out something like this is trying beyond anything I've ever gone through. Most of the time, I can manage to push the wanting to know out of my consciousness, and go on with the next thing, but some days, days like today, it fills my worldview and leaves me feeling unable to cope. I want to collapse weeping in someone's arms, but as a friend who had cancer a few years ago said to me on Wednesday, "They're all so down about it that you feel like you have to stay cheerful for their sake, it leaves you feeling terribly alone."
That it does. My partner lost a family member to cancer a couple of years ago, so I have been feeling uncomfortable talking to him about it. My friends keep telling me how strong I am, how brave, etc, which leaves me feeling like I'm getting an unspoken message that this is how they want me to be, so that I feel stifled about revealing myself to them; where can I go to howl and cry and rage against this quirk of my fate? I feel alone in a way I wouldn't have expected. My sponsor has said several times that she's "proud of me for the way I'm handling it." That sets me up to feel that if I were to collapse into weeping the way I sometimes want to, I would be disappointing her. So I don't feel as though I can go to her when it threatens to overwhelm me.
I haven't felt this alone in a long, long time. I realise that partly, it is because no-one who hasn't had cancer can ever truly understand the way it feels, and partly, it is my own inability to reveal myself to other people past a certain point.
Today, I'm struggling.
I decided to speak to my partner, Robert about how I was feeling, because being the sensitive man that he is, he knew I wasn't doing well, and asked outright what was going on. It was an enormous relief to be able to get it all out over a period of several hours. At one point, we stood in the kitchen locked in an embrace while I wept into his shirt. There is nothing so comforting as loving arms holding us tightly.
He told me that he doesn't want me trying to protect his feelings by not telling him what's going on with me. He suggested that I call my sponsor, so I did, and was honest with her about my difficulties revealing my feelings to her, and was told lovingly that she is proud of me whether I'm doing well, or as I am today, being swept around in eddies and whirlpools of emotion.
So it all comes down to my own expectations of myself, which I've projected onto the people who love me - an old behavior pattern to which I've regressed somewhat, during this difficult time. I'm feeling much better this evening, am going to have something to eat, get some sleep, and go to church in the morning, and to see my sponsor in the afternoon.
Thank you to those of you who have written in support of me, I'm deeply grateful.