I don’t know how to put this chapter of my life to bed. The one that saw me diagnosed with cervical cancer at 29. The one that put me back on a surgeons operating table, for better or worse.
I don’t know how to be thankful that it wasn’t “worse”. I don’t know how to be glad I didn’t have to go through more. All I can think of is that I had to go through it at all.
I don’t know how not to be angry. Angry that you can do everything right, get your smear tests and still end up with a cancer that is 100% preventable in the vast majority of cases because it’s too expensive to provide a smear every year. I don’t know how to not be angry that now that I’ve had cancer, now that it’s too late for my reproductive organs, that I will receive what essentially is a smear test every 3 months for two years, and then at a decreasing rate until 5 years.
I don’t know how to let go when every few months there it will be, whacking me in the face, knocking me back over.
I don’t know how to deal with the fact that everyone says to me “What happened was terrible, BUT thank god you’ve had two children”. There is no but. What happened to me was a worst nightmare. I planned my own funeral in my head, I made plans to ensure I could be in my children’s lives in the years to come even if I wasn’t there physically, I lost dreams of my family growing in size. I lost choice. I don’t want to hear your but.
I don’t know how to feel like I didn’t get off lightly. Like the doctors have missed something and I’ll still end up dying from this cancer anyway. I don’t know how to trust that it’s OK now, albeit only physically.
I don’t know how to deal with my anxieties that turn every twinge, every ache into a death sentence. I don’t know how to look in the mirror without seeing scars on scars, a body I don’t recognise. I don’t know how to love my own self for being my own self anymore. I don’t know how to feel like my body didn’t let me down
I don’t know how to look at my kids without wanting to burst into tears because I don’t feel able to be their mother right now, yet I can’t think of anything else than being their mother at the same time.
I don’t know how to be anything other than a raging ball of contradictory emotion, torn up and frazzled. I don’t know how to feel like I’m not lost. I don’t know how to feel like me.