I awoke in a sweaty haze again this morning, with pre-dawn darkness still cloaking our room; the world outside silent and still. Since my diagnosis, I have come to know the loneliness of these early hours more closely than ever before. It’s hard. Time inches forward while my mind does pinwheels.
It is in those lonely hours that I allow myself to confront my gravest fears. Perhaps it’s not such a conscious decision to do so, but rather a surrender of sorts. In the daylight, distracted by the relative normality of life, I push them away. But at night they are overwhelming.
I probably don’t need to spell them out to you. For those of us confronted with our mortality, it’s a pretty sobering time. And yet we all know we are going to die some time. We’re just never ready to be reminded of it, especially at the tender age of 37.
Even as I type this, I feel like I’m overreacting. I haven’t even begun my systemic cancer treatment yet and already I’m planning my funeral! I guess it’s just the way my mind works – sorting through every possible worst-case scenario; indulging in the unbearable. Perhaps then it makes each reality a little easier to take.
I start chemo next week and it’s on my mind constantly. I’m both willing it and dreading it; riding the dichotomy of imminent pain for eventual health. I am desperate to be rid of this cancer, yet the road to recovery and hopefully remission is long and arduous. I am so anxious about the extra burden I am creating for so many close to me, too.
My angst has started manifesting itself in some pretty crazy dreams as well! I very rarely remember dreams normally, but these have been so vicious and vivid they don’t leave me for days. They are strange and grotesque; so obviously fraught with tension about my diagnosis, the unknowns I am facing and the daunting treatments that lie ahead. (And likely fuelled by post-surgery pain meds!) At times they’ve been quite comical in their hideousness.
I’ve discovered I’m quite the literal dreamer at times, and could quite possibly formulate a pretty sweet horror movie in a one-night sitting if someone could tap into my brain.
Here’s a quick recap to give you a snippet of prominent features:
I’m often bald (obvs). I’m usually running, or fleeing something (again, pretty obvs).
My tumour has been noxious gas, or a black mass that stretches out of me in contorted, knotted fingers and suffocates things.
There have been heads with wigs that scream – not unlike that freaky scene in ‘Return To Oz’ that scared me silly about 30 years ago! (Does anyone else remember that one?)
Last night I was a Joan of Arc type warrior (bald again), leading children to refuge, only to find my tumour killed each of them anyway. Oh, and the other night, I dreamt my sister was scrap-booking my imminent death in gold-leaf, and announcing happily that she was ‘quite ok with it all’.
As you can see, sleep time has been quite eventful of late!
Think happy thoughts…Think happy thoughts!