Part 1: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Part 1: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

its-not-me

Dear 37 year-old body,

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out and hope you understand.

We’ve been through a lot over the years, you and I. We’ve spent an incredible amount of time in each other’s company and we know each other more intimately than anyone on this planet. You and I have forged secrets I’d never tell another soul, and at this point we should really be planning to grow old and grey together, but…well…lately I’ve had a change of heart.

I want a fresh start.

Let me try to explain.

You see, body, after nearly 38 long years together, I thought we were tight. I thought I knew you and all your silly little secrets inside out.

Who else knows just how extreme your love of liquorice is, or how often you sneak spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar? Who else knows about that funky toenail on your right foot that’s been NQR since Taiwan days, or about the time you stacked it on Swanston Street because you were too busy trying to sashay like a runway model while gawking at your own reflection in a shop window?

Seriously…you’re such a goose!

Who else knows about your weird duck-like proportions, your below-average pelvic floor or the fact that you can still run 100 metres really fast? Who else has come to realise that eating apples while you drive makes you queasy, that your nose is pretty much permanently runny, or that red wine makes you wheeze but you drink it anyway?

What about your obsession with buying books but never finishing them, your ridiculous phone phobia, your fears of flying, of being late, and of finding friends at school pick-up time? Who knows all that – and more – about little old you?

Yeah – Me.

I have come to know all your weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies so closely over the years, that I thought we were an unbreakable team. Silly me thought we had a sort of unwritten pact! I know we never drafted anything legally binding per se, but surely there was some sort of agreement to look out for each other? I know I’ve tried really hard to feed you decent food, run you around a little here and there, rest when you feel tired and get you checked when you’re sore or feeling off-colour. In turn, body, you’re supposed to keep me going, keep me doing all the things I love to do, keep me happy, healthy and strong! Isn’t that the deal?

So I’m a little peeved, quite frankly, to find myself at the tender age of 37, dealing with cancer. What’s with that?!

How could you do this to me? How could you let down your defences and fail me like this? How could you let something so sinister come between us? We didn’t have any prior history of breast cancer! We didn’t have any overt risk factors! Hell, you didn’t even give me the benefit of a proper warning! Some friend you are.

I just don’t know if we can resurrect the lost trust. How will I ever be able to depend on you again? You’ve let me down, body. I’m shattered.

Added to all that is the fact that these days, you’re kind of getting on my nerves.

I think it’s time I upgraded my model and got a brand new, healthy version of ‘you’ to carry me forward in this life. I’ve had it up to here with you and your tired, aching, menopausal, disease-ridden excuse for a body!

I want breasts that feel like proper breasts and an endocrine system in sync with my age. I want to run again like we used to, swim freestyle in the fast lane, and laugh so hard I spray mouthfuls of tea everywhere. I want to go about my days in blissful ignorance, be able to take you for granted all over again and live without any fear.

I want to be able to look at my children without wondering whether I’ll get to see them grow up. I want to stop wondering which little slapper will want to snap up my husband once I am gone…

Look what you have turned me into?! An angst-ridden, catastrophist who is pre-empting her premature death! THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR, BODY!

I want to look in the mirror and see something that resembles the young woman I am, not a scar-ravaged alien-like being with no body hair! You don’t even have eyebrows anymore! Do you know how seriously weird you look?

I want to put deodorant on you every morning without worrying about parabens, sip mugs of coffee and glasses of wine without fretting over carcinogens. I want to enjoy food the way it’s meant to taste, and not the residual metallic flavour that seems to have hijacked my tastebuds and taken up residence on my tongue.

I want to live again!

What I don’t want are osteoporotic bones and a potentially weakened heart from chemo. I don’t want a pallid, puffy face and the ridiculous bald pate of a ninety year-old man. I don’t want the constant threat of lymphedema in your arm or the peripheral neuropathy that’s developing in your fingers. I don’t want the constant tiredness, or the anxiety that shadows every ache or pain or lump.

You’re a total disaster zone!

The problem is, body, there are no trade-ins in this life. Even if I wanted to, I could never be rid of you. We are in this life, together, whether we like it or not, and while you have more than your fair share of foibles at present, I hope to be in this life – with you – for a very long haul.

Just stop trying to kill me, ok?

Disgruntledly yours,

Kate

If you’d like to read my body’s right of reply to this letter, click here!

30 thoughts on “Part 1: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

  1. I have read your words and they remind me of my journey with BC. I am ahead of you in treatment and feel I am weathering it all well. Your writing is beautiful and honest. Many of the feelings you have shared are feelings I’ve had. We are same age, married with beautiful children. I am grateful for coming across your blog. Sometimes I feel alone in my battle with my loved ones not understanding where I’m coming from. Reading your blog confirms I am not. Thank you. Much love to you as you continue on your journey. Your attitude is awesome!

    Stay Strong. Stay Positive.
    Renae

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Renae, thank you for getting in touch with me. It’s a lonely old road at times, I agree, even when you’re surrounded by masses of loving, supportive people, a lot of the demons have to be dealt with alone. I’m so glad my blog is resonating with you…it means I am less alone that I feel at times. All the best with your radiotherapy. I’ll be following suit in July. I want so much to say hooray, the end is nigh, but the newfound pessimist in me won’t allow it. Thinking of you on your tough road. Lovely to meet you x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t think your posts could get any better but that was the best one yet. Absolute gold. The power of the human body can be quite a conondrum. It will surprise us with its strength and power but then also completely confuse us with it’s ability to randomly fail us.
    Thinking of you my friend xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Simma! This one was a little hard to write…it’s a tough new relationship I have with my body. How am I supposed to love it when it’s turning against me?! Ugh. Xx

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  3. Love , love , love this. Everything you’ve said I can relate to. I look at my body and seriously don’t recognise it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clare, thank you for your lovely comment. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in these weird and wacky thoughts. I feel like I’m in a completely alien body at times, with no inkling of what it used to be. It devastates me. Hoping there’ll be some light at the end of treatment although I’m not sure.

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  4. Well now that I’ve finished crying and smiling at the same time (and with a lil snort too) I’ve decided to run off together with my body and spend the rest of my days be grateful for its overall health, sagginess, strength and wrinkle lines. Kate, again, you inspire me with your words, your humour and your rawness. Maybe you and your bod need a date night to reconnect over some Chinese takeout and a movie? Keep writing, you’re utterly amazing xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you lovely, LOVELY thing. Sorry for the tears. I can’t read back through a lot of what I write on here without tears either, so at least your response is consistent with mine. Xxx

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  5. Hi Kate, I read this post today and sat there staring into space afterwards thinking about how brave, real and inspirational you are. You write from the heart. I think you are amazing. So honest. I read a good quote today ‘You Are Not Your Thoughts’. Don’t let those crappy thoughts weigh you down. They are just thoughts. Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lovely lady. Thoughts can be pretty all-consuming at times. We are our own worst enemies aren’t we? (Well I am, anyway!) thanks for reading. So great seeing you the other day too. Xxx

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    2. Thanks so much Bri. I always love getting your comments. You are a very honest person yourself. Straight from the heart. People warm to that – it’s refreshing and exactly what this crazy world of ours needs. So thank you. Thank you too for reminding me that I can get past the crappy thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard to see that and hard to imagine ever breaking through the fog.

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  6. I agree that this is your best post yet (at least since I have been following) and I didn’t think it could get better after your eyebrow post. I absolutely LOVE your writing style and your honesty. You aren’t just writing words, you are making your readers feel your emotions in your words.
    Keep up the awesome work on your blog!
    Your children are lucky you are their mother and your husband is lucky you are his wife!
    Wishing you many blessings of health and happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jess,
      Wow – thank you so much. It means so much to have you enjoy my writing. My blog is giving me a lot of good things at the moment… New connections with people, the platform to spread awareness, a way of working through my demons. Thanks for reading and sending me a little message of encouragement – I really appreciate it. Kate x

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  7. Sweet Kate. A wonderfully clever post! I just had to sit quietly for several minutes after reading. You touch nerves with your written thoughts. How REAL & brave you are.
    Speaking of Demons….I have your old demons jumper that your Mum knitted when you were 6th. Too bad it wouldn’t fit! But you could always hang it to prompt you to waver those demons …? . SueSue

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    1. Hi Sue,
      Thank you. I have battled with this new version of me. The physical, the emotional…nothing’s the way it was or the way it ‘should’ be. I’m sure I will wrestle with it for a long while yet.
      I can’t believe you have my old Demons’ jumper!! Mum and I were just talking about that the other day and wondering what had become of it!! I wonder whether it would fit Ru?! Too funny…I may need to purge those Demons somehow.
      Kate xxx

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  8. Hi Kate. Wow, I love this. So funny and honest. I also wrote a letter to my body a while ago on my blog but mine was more grovelling = you were very assertive. Love it. Well done. Best wishes xxx

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  9. Kate,

    Wow, powerful post. I can totally relate; I was diagnosed as a younger adult and pre-cancer, I was athletic, fit, and just so darn healthy. When cancer came, I was totally unprepared and felt my body betrayed me. I’m so sorry you have to deal with so much. One of the unexpected fallouts from cancer for me was body image problems. Here’s my post on this topic: http://bethgainer.com/lost-in-translation/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading. I’ve just had a read of your post too, which left me similarly heart broken for you, for me and for all of us struggling with our post-Cancer body.
      Thank you for reading, for reaching out and got reminding me I’m not alone.
      Much love,
      Kate x

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  10. I really enjoyed this read. We are the same age. I can relate to all you said here. The only issue I have is that I can’t seem to be mad at my body (or curse at my cancer). I am not sure if there is a level of guilt in me that’s causing this or if it’s just the fact that I have accepted my body can’t be replaced and I have no other choice but to deal with it, as peacefully as I can.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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    1. I think I’m guilty of judging mine too harshly, but I’m finding it really difficult to reconcile the ‘old’ and ‘new’ versions of me…or pre and post cancer me. Losing health, wellbeing, security and physical attributes so quickly leaves you feeling pretty vulnerable. I’m working through it, but it’s hard.

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  11. Hi Kate, I’ve been following your blog for a month or so now. Its reduced me to tears some days and also given me a few smiles along the way, as your style of writing is captivating. I’ve wanted to tell you for a while how brave and strong you are. You are truly inspiring. I ask the higher powers of the universe to send you love and light during this tough and terrible journey. However hard it is to think positive at times, keep hope at your core and try not to let the bad thoughts penetrate that too much – as was said above, they are only thoughts. I wish you all the BEST and will continue following your journey. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much for writing to me. I really appreciate your encouragement and well wishes. It certainly is a tumultuous ride. I’m just trying to cope as best I can and share my struggles openly.
      X

      Liked by 1 person

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