They always tell you it’s your new normal.


All I can say is, f#@k that. It’s all a bloody betrayal.


The new normal after cancer is constant conflict. My body has turned on me, and I pretty much want to throat punch myself everyday from frustration. I have two major bouts going on.


One is a daily argument with my body. Have things to get done today? Guaranteed that I will wake up with stiff joints, painful bones, and a feeling that my body weighs about 800 pounds overall. Plan to workout tonight? Yeah, right. The fatigue that hits me is so all-consuming that there is no “powering through it”. Yes, I have tried. Sometimes I can, more often I can’t. It’s not normal “I am tired” fatigue. It is more the “I will fall into a puddle on the floor if I don’t lay down”.  I’m being literal.  I have to hold on to things to stay upright.  No lie.


The body issues are not surprising. My body and I have never gotten along well. It has always fought me with exercise and eating properly. My weight issues really aren’t new. Frankly, I don’t expect more from my body. Of course it’s going to behave like an ass. We co-exist. We agree to disagree. That is about it.


Then there is the real betrayal.


The mental fight is something I am not used to. I mean, my mind and I were at one. I said, let’s study, my mind said, woo hoo! Need to calculate something? Bim bam boom. Need to remember random facts and figures? No problem. I always saw my mind like a big filing cabinet. Snap my fingers and the right drawer opened with what I needed. My mind was as appalled at my body’s behavior as I was. We were best buds who rarely fought and agreed on almost everything.


Not so much now.


I still see my mind as a filing cabinet, but now it is rusted, the drawers stick, and there is no rhyme or reason to the information stored there. It’s like a two-year old rustled through the files, dropped a bunch on the floor, and rearranged the remaining items in no discernible order. That’s on a good day. The real frustration comes when I’m trying to pull a bit of information or remember a task, and a huge metal door slams down in front of the cabinet to block access. I mean, SLAM. No getting in. And everything on this side of the door is blank. The harder I try to breakthrough, the thicker the door seems to become.




Reading a book is torture. Between lack of focus and just having to read every word three times to remember what I have read, I get so frustrated that I just drop it. I can maybe read ten pages in one sitting. I forget the next step in whatever I am working on five seconds after identifying it. I binge watch tv shows, but if a few days elapse in between viewings, I completely forget important plot points. The hubs reminds of things that we have discussed, and I have no memory of the alleged conversations.


I have never in my life had my mind act like my enemy. Why does this happen? According to my research, it’s a vague combination of side effects from chemo (thanks, Adriamycin, aka “the red devil”), hormone inhibitors (Tamoxifen strikes again), anti-depressants and neuropathy meds (thanks again to chemo for those problems), and various other traumas from treatment. I’m considering seeing a neuropsychologist to assess the extend of the cognitive issues and see if there are any other treatments or behavioral fixes that I am not already doing. But it is all so exhausting.


So, if I say I am tired, that is why. It’s much deeper than lack of sleep or a need for a spa day. It’s an eternal, every minute fight to do things to get through the day. And a feeling that it’s me against every other thing in my life. Including my own body.


That, apparently, is my new normal.


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