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  • Raelene

The Aftermath

Sorry if you've been wondering where I've been. I've just been over here living my life again. I've been done treatment for just over a month now and it still feels a bit surreal. Adjusting back to "normal" life has for sure been a challenge which I want to share with you all. If you follow my instgram and saw one of my latest posts about my struggles you may recall that there I said I may be cancer free but that doesn't mean cancer has set me free. So I want to dive into that topic a little now.


Don't get me wrong I am so happy to be back to being a human again and I love living my life without cancer. Clara and I have been doing lots of what we thought we would be now that life is going back to how it was. Given she is a toddler now not a baby which definately is a change but a good change. I've been loving spending time outside and going for our morning walks. I am starting to get more energy and slowly starting to complete some of my very long to do list which feels great. There are so many positives and I don't want to disregard those at all as they are so important. That being said, its still hard and its okay for me to say that. Its okay for it to still be hard. I know that, yet I still get stuck sometimes in my struggles.


I feel like I live in fear. Fear of it coming back, fear that it could still take my life, fear that anything different in my body is cancer. I'm working on it I really am. I tell myself you can't fear the unknown and as my mom said you have to live your life and not be scared of what could maybe one day come but likely won't. Its so easy to say that but I haven't exactly figured it out yet. I had a scare a few weeks ago. (Warning overshare coming) The other breast had some milky discharge, just a tiny amount when I did a self exam (because self exams are really important and you should do one monthly). Well I had a melt down. Ryan said its probably just hormone based and I should call the doctor just to be sure. I was able to see my doctor and she sent me for blood work and an ultrasound. I was freaking out. Like really freaking out. It did turn out to be nothing though. It was a taste of what it would be like though. It was terrifying. I wasn't even that scared the first time I had scans done and actually had cancer. It was scary and took away from feeling like this was over. Once I got all the test results back I felt better but it also reminded me that this is how I will feel whenever something feels off now. I think that's what really let the fear set in, this new reality is scary and I hadn't really thought about that. All I was focused on was finishing treatment and surviving not what surviving looked like.


I knew this would be hard but I had no idea what to expect. I feel lost in this new woman, I don't fully know or understand her yet. I definitely have a better appreciation for life and enjoying the little things. I find myself sitting in my backyard, reading and just in awe of the life I have. Watching Clara learn and discover (and lets be real destroy) the world around her is just so amazing. She's truly the most amazing thing to ever happen to me but then I think that and I end up getting stuck in wondering if she will be lucky enough to have a sibling because that's the life we planned. I know she would be fine as an only child and there's nothing wrong with that but that wouldn't have been the plan. I know I need to be optamistic too but its hard right now. I'm stuck in the unknown with so many obstacles in the way.


Everything feels completely differenent now. Yet, the same. By that I mean to everyone else I'm just Rae again, not Rae with cancer. Which technically is true, I've never not been me through all of this but now the assumption is "you're good now right". I keep getting told it must be a relief to have all of this behind me but the truth is it's not behind me. Its this huge part of me that doesn't just go away because the cancer is gone. Its not behind me, I'm still living it every fucking day. Sure, I'm physically healthy and I've kept up with my new healthy lifestyle and I'm still losing weight and yes I am in a sense healthy but mentally its not over. Its not just done. Again, cancer free but not free of cancer. I'm not saying it consumes me completely because that's not accurate. I have so many good days, truly but some days aren't as good. I'm still exhuasted and I get really easily frustrated.


Some of my issues are still from side effects of treatment. My mind doesn't work like it did before. I struggle really hard handling some emotions and have pretty bad anxiety in some situations. For example, back in May I tried doing a grocery trip on my own. I was so overwhelmed by a simple task I have done countless other times. I was super irritable and when I got home a melon rolled off the counter, didn't even break or anything and it cause me to have a melt down. Last week, I went with Ryan to Costco as I needed to find some clothes and things for myself but knew I couldn't go alone and that trip still caused me a lot of anxiety. Also, anytime I'm trying to get something to work and it doesn't (usually technology based) I breakdown and cry and get so angry because I know this isn't me and I feel like I should be better by now because that's what everyone is telling me. I don't mean to make anyone feel bad about saying things to me regarding being done treatement. I apreiciate people who still bring it up and ask about it. Its still something I need to talk about but feel like I can't anymore or no one wants to hear about it now. Maybe, that's unfair and untrue but in a way I feel dismissed now. I don't have cancer so I should just shut up and move on right? Well if it was that fucking easy I would have done it by now.



I'm trying to do normal things and keep a routine. Some days it works and some days it doesn't. I think I've been overdoing it to a degree lately as the last few days I've felt really exhausted so I'm trying to slow down but as a mom I feel like I have to do all the things. I hate just siting still now that I have no treatments to go to but I have to keep reminding myself that its okay to only do one or two things on my list each day. I know I will get back to normal energy levels and be able to tackle my whole list with time.


If you have been wondering what my plans are for the blog, I haven't decided completely what I want to do in the longterm but for now I am going to to keep posting when I have topics about my journey I wish to share. I'm sure the journey will still be long and have more obstacles along the way. At the end of my treatment I had a follow up with my oncologist and I asked her about reoccurrence and my odds, to sum up her very long answer there is about an 80% chance that I am cured and it won't come back. However, that 20% is what scares me but doing my best not to hold onto that.


I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been there and has followed my journey and continues to read my posts. I hope I can still be of help to others and provide a little bit of eye opening to those who are lucky enough to not have this disease touch your life. Mommy isn't sick, she's just mentally drained.


-Raelene


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