I discovered that over two-thirds of my regular Blog Readers are 6 months to 2 years out from diagnosis, thanks to the poll you so graciously answered. You are trying to find your way and find answers after treatment ends. The biggest complaint I hear from you is that you feel quite alone left with the side effects of brutal cancer treatment. Also, you feel guilt and emotional pain because it is expected you should be back to normal and your old self, but you feel far from normal.
During this blog post read, let’s compare ourselves to a tree. Here in the Midwestern United States, every year I see what I call TREE HACKERS, hired by the electric company, going through neighborhoods and thoroughfares removing limbs and entire parts of trees that have grown into electrical wires. Proper pruning, which would be no more than 20% of the tree, is not done, but the trees are hacked to prevent deaths. This hacking takes 30%, 40% and even 50% of the original tree.
I’m sure you can relate to these tree pictures. Before Breast Cancer you felt like the whole tree. But whatever percentage was taken from your tree on Breast Cancer Road, you have been hacked. Your body has been hacked, your breasts were hacked, your hair was hacked, your immune system was hacked, your relationships were hacked, and every other part of your life was hacked.
Then the worst part is while your branches are starting to grow back, you have to constantly be on the lookout in case the tree hackers return.
Whenever you get impatient about how long it is taking to get better and feel better, remember these visuals of the hacked trees, then be patient with yourself. Branches have an uncanny way of returning! The remaining branches will work extra hard to replace the missing branches. But it takes time.
My neighbors had such a tree. Over 50% of the tree was taken – sliced down the middle by utility hackers. It has taken a long time, but that tree is whole again! That is my hope for all of us!