Dealing with cancer at a young age can cause regular milestones to feel rushed or misplaced.
It’s been a while since my latest share. Usually, I know exactly how I’m feeling and what I want to say, but lately something’s changed. Almost like after five years of living in survival mode and keeping my health top priority, I’m now struggling with a glaring lack of clarity in… pretty much everything else.
For anyone dealing with the new, condensed timeline of life after long-term treatment, you might sense that traditional milestones like dating, marriage, careers and kids feel rushed or cramped. The clock’s skipped ahead and you don’t get that time back. And personally, while I’m still working through trauma and confusion or desperately chasing down moments and experiences I missed in my earlier 30s, everyone else seems to have moved on, appearing so blissfully decisive and satisfied with their chosen routes. Even if that’s not true (and of course it isn’t), it still feels that way sometimes. Perception can mess with you like that.
I’m a different person after cancer. But I’m still tinkering with the controls of this new identity and figuring out my voice and values. I’ve always relied on instinct to guide me. And that’s what’s so scary— in many areas, I have no idea what feels right. My radar doesn’t seem to be pointing in any direction, which only adds more frustration.
As someone with a type A personality, I like knowing what I’m working towards and not wasting time. And all this blockage has left me feeling unsettled and less deserving of joy. But the other night, Kori and I forced ourselves out of a wave of anxiety and had a leisurely glass of wine outside. She threw together a delicious meat and cheese plate—well worth straying from my usual clean diet—and we had ourselves a moment to just let down and chill out. It was nice. I woke up with a smile the next morning, feeling more at peace than I have in weeks.
I’ve decided to take that as a sign. Instead of driving myself crazy trying to force together puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit, I’m taking another approach…
For now, let’s just be clear that I’m unclear.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.