It’s Tough to Be Vulnerable About Cancer and Other Health Complications

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Cancer attacks your body and puts you in a very vulnerable position.

In my second blog for, titled, “Being Vulnerable With Cancer Is OK,” I wrote that I was afraid to reach out and admit that I was experiencing depression during a dark time of painful chemo, being sick with gastrointestinal flu and the gray Ohio winter. I didn’t want to admit to others how I felt at the risk of appearing weak and whiny.

Once I admitted on Facebook about my state of mind, I was overwhelmed with support, and people told me I was strong to be so honest.

Now, five years later, I am writing from a different point of view. I am explaining how hard it is to be vulnerable. This vulnerability is not exposing how I feel to other people; I found that healing. This is vulnerability about my health.

As the years have passed, I have had increasing attacks on different parts of my body. I feel vulnerable from an assortment of symptoms including stomach problems, tooth decay which caused the loss of a dozen teeth, increased fatigue, shortness of breath and losing a significant amount of hearing.

I find myself asking which part of the body is going to be attacked next. When I recently told my oncologist about severe muscle aches, he said he would refer me to a neurologist. I asked him to wait because I cannot face going to one more new doctor. I also had a terrible scare when my eyes showed high pressure and the eye doctor suspected glaucoma. I have a family history and was worried for weeks before the tests were run, and it was ruled out. For a person already deaf, the fear of losing my vision is terrifying.

I dodged a bullet and am thankful. However, the vulnerability of a new problem is always there taunting, teasing, tantalizing and circling my head. I know most of us with any type of cancer probably feel this way at one time or another.

I do know how fortunate I am to be alive and kicking. But the fear is constant. All we can do is be thankful for the bullets we dodge and the gentle (or not-so-gentle) reminder that we need to take one day at a time. Cancer is a tough teacher and I think most of us have learned that lesson well!

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