Trying to find my way out of a funk

I’ve been really busy lately. With what, you ask?

I’ve been throwing myself one hell of a pity party. RSPVP’s were not required because, though we all like parties, this was not one you would have wanted to attend. Engraved invitations didn’t go out, hell, I couldn’t have even managed an e-vite.

I was on a high after my 5 yr anniversary post. The love and support lifted me and held me up for 3 or 4 days. Then my scan came and my fear of bad results took over. I posted a little, trying to make light of it and appear grateful for the good results. I held my head high and typed with fake enthusiasm.

I pretended to be strong and joked about my doctor’s office meltdown.

But I lied. It wasn’t joke worthy. It hurts to lose it even before getting the results. It’s hard not to be strong in the face of it all. To admit I’m weak and tired and  really really sad.

I’ve been walking in a dark cloud. I’ve struggled daily to hold back tears every time I glance in the mirror and see my lack of hair and overly thin face. I look like a cancer patient.

I’ve had friends make suggestions about what can be done with my hair. It’s made it worse. I had another friend comment to my kids that she just “had to tease their mom about her hair”.  But why? Why did she have to tease me? How does this help?

I knew my identity was tied to my copious amounts of red hair. Honestly, I’ve had very few bad hair days in my life and I do appreciate that. Up until now.

I’ve never been the pretty one but I had great hair. Through my freakishly tall, bad skin, questionable choice of band instruments days, I had the kind of hair people told me they envied. It made me walk a little taller. But honestly, how ridiculous is it to not know who I am now that it’s gone?

Someone recently asked where D2 got her gorgeous long red hair. It killed me. Absolutely broke my heart into tiny pieces.

How do I justify feeling sorry for myself over such a petty minor thing?

Should I admit how superficial I am?

Should I be embarrassed to admit how much I struggle when I’m supposed to be grateful for 5 extra years?

I guess I bare it here and hope nobody reads it. This is my therapy.

This is where I confess that I fear I won’t live long enough to see it long again. In the greater scheme of things that shouldn’t matter. But it does.

It matters to me very much.

I had a friend suggest I cut it shorter. She might be right but I can’t do it. My hair stylist knows that – she wouldn’t do it if I asked. She shaved my neck at my last appointment. It WON’T be shorter than that. She’s been through cancer treatments herself, so she knows and appreciates how much the loss of the smallest things add to the mourning of life before cancer. How my femininity is tied to my hair.

So how do I find my way out of the dark cloud of a lost identity and the exhaustion of a year of daily treatment that wears me out in every way? When does the mourning end? What’s next? Do I have the strength for another 5 years?

I don’t know.

I’m trying and SG is trying to help. He tells me I’m beautiful to him but I don’t believe him. He’s not above lying to me to try to make me feel better. I appreciate that and I’m sure I don’t want him to tell me the truth anyway.

I don’t want to be told to get a wig now that it’s just starting to come back. That’s what my mom does. She does it with love – her way of trying to help me feel better about myself.  But somehow my warped brain sees it as a reminder that the way I look now isn’t good enough. Not to her but to me.

And yes, I am feeling horribly sorry for myself when I know how much worse others have it. But why do I have to compare my feelings to that? Why can’t I just allow myself some time to wallow as long as I snap out of it by the time the girls get home from school?

I’ll get through it. I’ll contain it to after hours, after bedtime. I will get through it but not yet.

Not right now. Right now I’m sad and exhausted and out of words.


20 thoughts on “Trying to find my way out of a funk

  1. You know what I kept thinking as I read this?

    That you are human, and real.

    And if you feel less than what you were because of your glorious hair being gone? That Is OK.

    That Is OK.

    I think people can be cruel, and not realize the situation you are in. They may tell you, “well…goodness… at least you’re alive!”

    But you know that already. And you ARE grateful. But you are human, not a saint.

    If you miss your hair, then you miss your hair.

    That doesn’t mean you are not grateful that you are cancer free, and just means that now that the storm is over, and you don’t have crisis on your hands..that you can afford the luxury of being real.

    And that means saying, ” I Miss the me I used to be.”

    I get it. 100%.

    • Thanks my dear!

      I think the main problem is i’m not cancer free – probably never will be – and that knowledge makes me constantly ask what’s next. This storm doesn’t really end no matter how much the sun tries to come out. This is what’s wearing me out.

      Thank you for the support and for telling me it’s ok to admit i’m weak.

  2. “How do I justify feeling sorry for myself over such a petty minor thing?”

    As a licensed therapist*** I ask you why do you need to justify? Why not feel sad? You have every right to feel how you want to feel..I could elaborate but Alexandra said it all so beautifully.

    I hope writing this helps you in some small way. I’m reading. You matter. Your experience and your feelings matter.


    ***absolutely not a licensed therapist…I’m not even an unlicensed one

  3. Oh Annie I’m so sorry! I wish I had some wise words to help you feel better, but I really don’t. I do, however, think you are incredibly brave for NOT feeling like this way more of the time, and for being able to write about other topics at all, ever. I mean, what you are going through sucks ass, and you’re able to compare yourself to people who have it even worse? You’re amazing. And totally allowed to vent away here – that’s what it’s for right? I hope writing this helped you feel just a tiny bit better, and if it didn’t, well write again.

    And one little thought went through my head when you wrote about seeing yourself in the mirror. Why don’t you go shopping? And buy yourself art that you LOVE seeing and slowly (or all at once!) start replacing all or most of the mirrors in your house with art that makes you happy? Just a thought, maybe ridiculous.


  4. I can feel you softening your words for your readers even when you are feeling so low. That will make it harder to resent you when your hair is gorgeous again.

  5. Its an interesting thing I’ve noticed in the blogosphere but I can usually tell when a fellow cancer blogger is struggling by the lack of posts or the content of the few posts they are even if they dont admit anything. Nobody actually admits it but we find it harder to write when we are down, we want so much to present our ‘brave face’ to the world and feel like we are admitting failure when we don’t. You are allowed to want your hair – I still have days where I miss my long brown ringletty curly hair I had before this all started. It was one of the ways I measured my femininity – I too loved my hair.
    Allow yourself to grieve for your hair – and that grief will pop up again from time to time- especially when people say unthinking remarks – only you know what you should do/want to do to remedy the situation.
    OK – that’s enough of the *unliscensed therapy* from me
    Long distance Hugs my friend

  6. All I know is that some days in this life are filled with beauty and thankfulness and some are filled with anger, despair, and feelings of incredible loss. I don’t know why. None of us do. I just hold on to the hope that someday it will all make sense. Until then, we–in our human frailties–clumsily limp along from one day to the next.

    Keep on limping…

  7. My $0.02 opinion is that you should fully and completely embrace the grief. Without grieving and mourning, we can’t heal. You owe yourself the time to be sad, angry, weepy etc. Go for it! Your cyber support group will be here to offer encouragement, humor, shoulders to cry on, wine — whatever you need. Oh – and I’m lighting up the Lady of Guadalupe for you.

  8. I wish I could come and give you a hug. I agree with Julie about embracing the grief. Don’t judge yourself for what you are feeling. Just feel it, process it. You will come out on the other side of this.

  9. Obsess over your hair! Of course, you can. Girl, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing. You obsess and we will remind you that you are strong, beautiful and amazing.

    And I want to be invited to every party. Even the pity parties.

  10. I’m with Alexandra, and with Christy and with Kelcey and with every other person who commented with love and support and humor.

    And OMG. You know those pity parties I throw myself and you’ve never not once told me to go fuck myself. So you’re more than entitled.

    (Ok, is it over now? Can we go back to talking about me?)

    Love you.

  11. Hi. I’m sending you love. I wonder if I would have made that insensitive comment your friend made in a pathetic attempt to try to cope … for you? With you?

    Anyway. Sending you love.

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