Monday, September 09, 2013

The Emotional Toll

I thought I had it all worked out. I spent hours with Pete talking 5 years ago when my Mom was tested for BRCA.  We talked about how having a mastectomy would change myself, and in turn change our lives.  I had it figured out after spending so much time talking.  It would change me, but I could get through it.  And I had it all figured out. 

When my mammo was abnormal and my path changed and I thought I had it all figured out.  I had spent all that time talking and thinking and figuring it all out.  But the reality is that I didn't.  I have this self doubt that is creeping in.  I have a lack of confidence that is disheartening.  I can't help but wonder if I did the right thing.

I spent so much time prior to surgery getting physically and mentally ready for surgery.  When I let myself think too much, I was an emotional mess and spent the day or days in bed crying.  I tried to focus on the positive and often put a smile on for those around me.  I planned and wrote lists and made calls, all things to keep me busy. 

I spent the days after surgery trying to physically recover.  This was a hard surgery.  Even now, 60 days later, I hurt and have muscle soreness and pain.  And I remember remarking to someone, about 30 days out, how surprised that I wasn't more of an emotional basket case.  I kept waiting for the emotions to bubble up and flow out.

The last couple of weeks, as I try to resume my life from before April, I noticed that I was more emotional about random small things.  While I can potentially attribute some of this to my cycle (I'm still learning my body's new/other cues), I can't blame it all on that.  I've had some long crying jags and intense discussions with Pete, along with car rides where I don't remember getting from point A to B.  The emotional part has kicked in.  Hard.

I think I'm in the middle of grieving my old life.  I've done this before.  My failed and destructive TMJ surgeries led me to grieve the life that I would have had without the daily pain.  I was well out of grief when I could look back and see that's what had happened.  I had no idea what was happening while in it and likely held most of it in, leaving no one to point out to me what was going on while I was in it.  This time I have an inkling of what's going on.  But as with any grieving process, it's different for each person and each time.  The difference is that I can't go this alone and I shouldn't go it alone.

It's a struggle.  I spent so much of my life relying on me.  Living in my head, figuring out things myself and living my own problems out.  But I can't expect to not let Pete in.  I can't expect him to support me, without knowing what I'm thinking and what I need from him.  I need to let him in.

I've come to realize today, that I think I'm second guessing myself.  Second guessing if I should have had the surgery.  I'm caught in this no mans land of being a previvor, not having cancer, but having a pretty big probability of having it at some point.  I'm struggling with body image, self confidence and figuring out how my life looks today and forward.  What if it was all for nothing?  What if I took the wrong path?