Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Victim's Guilt

My diagnosis left me in a little bit of shock. Along the way, everyone had told me, "It's probably nothing, but let's just get it checked to be sure." The day I had my biopsy on my neck the nurse said, "95% of these lumps that we do these on turn out to be completely benign. You have nothing to worry about."

At 8 AM the next day my mom came into my room to tell me that I was part of that lucky 5%. She had just gotten a call from the doctor and they already had the results back, when originally they had said it could take up to a week. I guess the cancer was that obvious that it took no time at all to be seen. When my mom told me I became silent. I nodded along as she told me we had appointments with surgeons set up and we would meet with one of them the next day. She hugged me, and I let her, but I kept a stony face until she left.

I was alone in my room but I didn't feel like me any more. I felt my neck with my hand, poking around near the bandaid that covered the needle prick from the biopsy, trying to find this part of me that was trying to kill me. Thats all I could think about at that moment. My body was trying to kill me. The worst thing about it was that nothing hurt. I couldn't point to a spot and say "There! Put the ice and the bandage right there and make it all better!" It was something that I couldn't feel the effects of, which is lucky, but not what I was used to. I was an athlete in a highly competitive contact sport. I was used to pain and rehab and bruises. This was different though. There was nothing I could do to make myself better. I couldn't go to the gym and train my hardest to prove that my neck was fine. I had no control over my own body, and that was what scared me the most.

Flash to three or four months later, I am fully recovered from my surgery, through radiation treatment, declared cancer free (by my mom but I still consider it to be true), and the season is starting. My team is out on the court every day pushing themselves to be better and better, running to exhaustion, and I sat on the sidelines. I wanted to be out there but I couldn't. For a while, my excuses made sense to me and everyone else. I was trying to get my medication at the right dosage so I was exhausted all the time. My neck hurt and I didn't have a full range of motion. I got dizzy all the time. But as time has gone on, my excuses have remained the same and yet my faith in them is failing. I know now that I was afraid to start up again throughout the season because I knew how hard it would be. It was so much easier to say that I would start really pushing myself over the summer, and right now I didn't need to try.

As the summer is almost half way over though, I have barely improved. Sure I'm working on it, but I know at this pace I will never get where I need to be. I just can't find the strength to push through everything. The simple reason is that I am tired. I am tired of how exhausting life is. I am tired of being the girl who can't do everything. I am tired of explaining to people that I can't play right now because I am recovering from cancer. I am tired of my emotions being all over the place and having to take antidepressants everyday. I am so tired of being tired. And yet, I cannot push myself to try any harder. I am trying though. I really am, and I am going to keep trying to the best of my ability until school starts up again, and then I will need a whole other dose of trying to kick in, but I will get to that eventually.

The worst part about everything is that I feel guilty every time I lace up my shoes. I feel guilty for getting sick, which yes I realize is stupid. I feel guilty for not pushing myself harder. I feel guilty for all the excuses I make, whether they are legitimate or not. And I feel guilty every time I see the look of disappointment on someone's face when I tell them I need a break. Everyone wants me to succeed and I'm afraid I won't be able to. My parents look so defeated when I say I am too tired to keep working out, or to even start. I feel guilty, and I feel guilty about feeling guilty. It's a vicious cycle that tries to keep me in bed all day long, which often it does.

But why am I writing all this down? Well, on the one hand, it is incredibly cathartic for me as I have just cried out about a glass and a half of tears. On the other hand, I hope that anyone else going through a struggle like this will know that it is ok to fell like this. Sure this post seems incredibly pessimistic, but that's because I'm focusing on this one bad aspect of my life. I love who I am and I genuinely feel like I have grown so much in the past year. I just want people to know that it is ok to be sad or scared or upset or guilty or tired or whatever they are feeling. Life sucks, but don't let it suck the life out of you.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Welcome to the twisted insights of my brain

I don't know what dark rabbit hole of the internet lead you here, if anyone actually ever reads this, but regardless of how you got here, welcome. Let us get acquainted with each other. I am going to stay anonymous, and feel free to stay the same. However, I will share certain things with you to help you attempt to understand my head space. Here are those facts that I think you will find relevant, should you choose to continue reading this: I am in college in my late teens, and I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer before my freshman year of college. I am an athlete, and I was prevented from playing my sport during my freshman year because of my cancer. I am traumatized by having cancer, and I rarely feel in control of myself. Finally, and most importantly, this blog is for me and for people like me who want to see insights into a fellow survivor's brain.

This means I want to help people, but the main purpose of this blog is to help myself. Confessing all I can to strangers who can't see me and can judge me all they want, should they choose to do so. I am not going to publicize this blog at all, yet feel free to do so should you think this will help someone. Additionally, should you want to contact me to ask questions and the comments section just doesn't float your boat, feel free to email me at and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. You can call me Regina Phalange, and if you get that reference we already have a lot in common.

So, from Regina Phalange, welcome. If you choose to read on, I am impressed. I don't know if I would mainly because I would be too afraid to dive into someone else's crazy psycho babble. But, if you think this will help you, please read on.