My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women


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1, 2, 3, Attack

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It happened at the gym a couple of months ago.  Earlier that day, I read about another young mother who had lost her life to metastatic breast cancer.  I followed her on Facebook and commented on her posts often.  I’m not sure she knew who I was but through her posts I felt I knew a bit about her and her life so the loss hit me hard.  And to see any child left without his or her mother just devastates me.

On that same day, the news was replaying a story of a young woman who lost her life to colon cancer (I think), but not before fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a contestant on Jeopardy.  I saw the headlines on my Facebook feed but didn’t really pay attention to it.

At the gym, I was doing my normal treadmill routine.  Running, walking, sprinting, walking….  I was doing fine, listening to music and watching the news silently on the screen in front of me.  I started one of my final sprints of the workout and on the news was the story of the young woman who died who had appeared on Jeopardy.  Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, I broke down in tears.  I could not stop crying.  I had to hit the emergency stop because I couldn’t run anymore.  I was done.

The next time I went to the gym, the moment my heart rate went up, I started to get short of breath.  My heart began to flutter.  I felt weak and light headed.  It paralyzed me.  I tried to push through and I couldn’t.  I walked away from the workout.

The next few times I went to the gym, the same thing happened.  The moment I increased the difficulty of my workout, my body would shut down.

I mentioned this to my therapist and she said I was having a panic attack.  She advised that I alter my workout, either by going on a different machine or slowly working up to a more vigorous workout on the treadmill.  If I felt the attack coming on, to not stop but to slow down.

Her advice worked the first time.  I haven’t had an attack since.  But it shocked me that this happened.  I thought I was doing so well at managing my anxiety.  I guess the fear and anxiety of cancer is always there.  It might be dormant for a while but the monster could always be woken.

Has anything like this happened to you?

Did you start getting panic attacks after you got cancer?

 

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Two Places At The Same Time

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You may have noticed that I’ve taken a blogging hiatus.  I just haven’t been able to bring myself to sit in front of my computer and write about cancer lately.  I’ve had things to write about.  Nothing major, just life’s little post-cancer experiences.  It’s just…I don’t know.  I’ve opened up my blog to a blank page, stared for a while and decided that I’d rather just watch some tv or do thing online.  I haven’t even been reading the blogs (sorry friends, I haven’t forgotten about you).

I think this is coming from the fact that I’ve been all consumed with life post-election and Trump being inaugurated as our 45th president.  I haven’t been sleeping.  I’ve been obsessed with the news, both on television and of the printed variety.  I’ve been feeling helpless so I have been spending hours on the phone trying to get through to my Senator and Congressperson.  I’ve been signing petitions.  I’ve been sharing news stories on Facebook and commenting on others.  I’ve been going to protests and marches.

This obsession with resistance is the same obsession I had with breast cancer.  When I was diagnosed and up until a few months ago, I scoured the internet for information.  I lost sleep over it.  I read every article, blog and commented on everything.

But now, I just don’t have the mental and emotional space for both cancer and my new America.  I think my brain would explode if I spent too much time in both worlds.  So, I’ve left Cancerland for a while.

I’m not gone for good.  Even as I write this (it feels good), I’m thinking of all the things I haven’t written about in the last month.  Some good.  Some not so good.  But it seems, at least for now, my head and my heart can’t be in two different places at the same time.

I hope to write again soon.  I’m having my next surgery on Thursday, the next step in my reconstruction and Lymphedema Awareness Day is coming up.  I definitely want to write for that.

I just wanted to say, I’ve missed you all.  I hope you have missed me.  And don’t be offended if I haven’t read or commented on the things you have written.  It’s not personal.  You are still my community.

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This was at The Women’s March On Washington.  I’ve loved being part of the resistance and raising my voice.