My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

29 June 2009

my surreal life

I have never been one to transition through phases of life smoothly. I am a woman of habit, routine, schedules and organization. When these things are missing from my life I feel lost, wondering where I fit inside my own life. Often the introvert in me comes out with a vengeance, and I have high needs for space and time to myself in an effort to reorient. Even though I might know a new phase is coming, I never manage to get through the transition without a fair amount of tears, stress, conflicted feelings and general confusion. It takes me time to turn a new phase of life into something familiar, with a routine and at least some semblance of organization. Only then can I start to relax and enter back into regulary daily living.

I've been thinking a lot about this part of my personality as I've entered into parenthood. On the list of stressful events in life, pregnancy and new babies rate pretty high. Add to that the loss of Caleb's job and a steady income (tomorrow's his last day), and we have a recipe for a somewhat unstable Heidi (let's not even talk about how my lack of sleep and hormone imbalance only exacerbate my already-emotional response to things).

Its interesting how I can be so totally overwhelmed by motherhood, and yet at the same time find so many parts of it so natural and instinctual. I used to be so afraid of infants, with their floppy necks and seeming fragility, and yet I find myself completely comfortable caring for my own. I can't believe I've been entrusted with this precious life (did God miss the memo about me not being a "kid person"?), and yet I am often overcome by the intensity of feeling I have for my baby girl ... the love I feel, and the need to protect and nurture and care for and comfort her. If she cries for more than a minute or two I find myself sobbing there right along with her, usually for no other reason than I'm so sorry I can't fix it. I hate to see her in pain or discomfort. I suppose I'm in for a lifetime of that.

I also find it amazing how I've managed to function these last several weeks on nothing but a series of 1- to 3-hour naps. At the same time I'm marveling at my ability to function, I find myself so utterly exhausted that I can fall asleep at any moment, anywhere, and sometimes I let my precious daughter fuss a while before dragging myself out of bed to get her what she needs. I'm so tired sometimes that even though I know I'm not thinking rationally about things, there's nothing I can do about it. I also tend to bristle inside when anyone else complains of being tired, even when their claims of weariness are valid. Surely they can't be as tired as me.

I'm also still healing from major surgery. Its only been three weeks since Josie was born, and there are days I'm still really sore, and need to remember to take it easy in order to heal well. Speaking of healing, I find myself overjoyed at already having lost 20 pounds of pregnancy weight. I love seeing my ankles again and being able to see my feet past my stomach. And yet, I still can't get my wedding rings on, and I am quite ready to lose the other 20 pounds and regain some of my pre-pregnancy health and fitness. I get a bit impatient sometimes at not being able to walk for too long without getting winded or winding up in pain. Oh, and let's not even talk about how I have nothing to wear. Pre-pregnancy clothes are still too small, and I simply refuse to keep wearing most of my maternity clothes. Most of them are already packed away. This leaves me with a pair of sweats and a couple t-shirts for the time being ... not exactly great for a Southern California summer.

As for Caleb's job, I vacillate between fear for our financial situation and excitement for what the future holds. Every day I have the conversation with God where I ask for peace and patience in the midst of uncertainty, and strength to keep expecting his amazing love for us to do something amazing and dramatic for Caleb. This situation is an awesome opportunity for him to get out and do the things he's always dreamed of doing! And yet, we don't have an unlimited amount of savings off of which to live. We're praying and hoping for something amazing.

Yesterday at church our associate pastor spoke on Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He talked about the difference between being weary, a result of choices we've made, and burdened, a result of circumstances thrust upon us. For both kinds of tiredness there is rest to be found in Christ. He promises to be yoked along with us, to carry the heavier load, and to teach us how to carry ours. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." I am in great need of the rest only God can give, physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.

I am who I am, and it is simply going to take me some time and space to adjust to my new role as Mom. It is something I have always wanted and something I am enjoying every minute of (even though it leaves me tired beyond tired). I am so in love with my beautiful daughter its impossible to quantify. Its just going to take some time to find my footing again.


km said...

I didn't realize that Caleb's job was ending. I knew he had gone to part time....but must have missed the update. I'll be keeping you in prayer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Heidi. I appreciate your honesty and self-awareness -- I entered parenthood with some of those same emotions. I promise you that no matter what your circumstances may be in the coming months, you're sure to fall even more in love with your precious daughter!

Goes On Runs said...

i think i still have moments of trying to figure who i am on the other side of motherhood... having to re-invent myself... re-define. remember all the unique ways god has gifted me....for this chapter and all the other chapters that he is writing in my life.... it has been almost 4 months i have lost 10 pounds of pregnancy weight...i'm not sure how since she was 7 - 7. argh! patience. with myself and with my body... but i hate inbetween clothes. BUT it is an amazing journey... all of it.