Maybe One Day Things Won’t be as Bad

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaAugust 25, 2020View more posts from Jennifer Anand

This week has been insane, and it’s only lunchtime on Wednesday. My projects are overwhelming me, a coworker got super pissed at me yesterday; a client basically told me I couldn’t do my scheduled visit tomorrow; and my manager’s emails all point to my lack of understanding. Oh well, today is a new day! Except it’s not. Boom. New projects, and new clients with old problems. 20 emails in 10 minutes, all from my manager- why are you doing this, why didn’t you do this, this is wrong, this should have been done, this should have been done differently.

I want to scream.

I want to hide.

But instead I write.

More than anything, I want to eat my feelings.

I always emotionally ate. But now. In the midst of a pandemic, uncertainty and the stress of my job- I want nothing more to eat. A small bowl of pasta. A scoop of ice cream. Mac and cheese. Pierogis and the kielbasa in my freezer.

But I can’t.

For whatever mystical reason, my blood sugars have been high since yesterday. Probably related to the stress of all these times. But this is my work, so ditching the projects really isn’t an option at the moment. But just a small bite of some comforting food may help my soul. But my blood sugar shot up a ton this morning after eating my detested egg. The broccoli I had for lunch didn’t help anything. Finally, it’s slowly at the upper most range it should be, and I can’t kill it now by stuffing my face.

I feel like I have nowhere to turn. My mentor isn’t online, my coworkers aren’t involved in this, and I can’t tell my mom without her worrying. Food is my haven, my solace, my refuge.

But it’s gone.

I have nothing. I have my faith, but you know sometimes you need something tangible to feel like everything is going to be OK.

Faith is a feeling, and it’s not there right now. I wish I could curl up under a blanket, but I have a meeting in 10 minutes, that will go for a few hours, so that’s not an option. Diabetes sucks. Like nothing else ever. Wasn’t life hard enough for me?

Didn’t it deal me the hand of cancer, not once, but twice? Throwing in complications, and chronic lingering effects, I feel like I should get a break in some tiny way. But no. I’m destined to have the generational curse of diabetes, like my mom so often said, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Grandpa got it at 40, I got it at 30, do you want to get it at 20?

Well here I am. 25 and with an insulin pump for the second time in my life. Today sucks.

****

I have a habit of spouting words into an email draft. Then revisiting it days or in this case weeks later Today is a better day. I feel good mentally, though the physical is still a struggle. But reading the paragraph above took me back to that day. When I felt hopeless and alone. They say time heals all wounds. That’s a load of b.s.

The wound is still there, but sometimes there are enough other things that you don’t actively think about the hurt. I wish I could say something magical happened after I wrote this and give you 10 steps to make you feel better too! But that didn’t happen. All I know is today I’m better than I was then.

I know every single person reading this has had an end-of-the-rope day. Whether it is directly related to cancer. Or the stupid long-term gifts of cancer like me. Or to the emotional trauma from cancer. Or even just to the isolation and worry and uncertainty of this global pandemic that seems to have no end in sight.

And I know you and I will have those end-of-the-rope days again and again for the rest of our lives. But maybe, just maybe- someday there will be enough good in our lives to lessen the ache of the wounds.

And maybe one day things won’t be as bad.


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.

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3 Comments

  • Samantha B says:

    Jennifer – your words and courage are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings. For feeling brave enough to be vulnerable and authentic. Like can suck ass sometimes, that’s a given. And then life can be give us the most beautiful gifts in the world, remember that moment you told me your cheeks hurt from smiling so much? I remember the joy I heard in your voice when you told me that. I appreciate the vulnerability you share. It shows that you are stronger than you think.

  • Roshani says:

    Thank you, reading your article and similar ones are the only thing that’s been getting me thru this horrible week, haven’t gotten out of bed in 4 days.
    None of my friends understand what I have been thru and the after math of cancer effects. One even friend even cracked a joke about cancer –
    She asked me what did the blind and deaf boy get from Christmas. The answer is cancer.
    I don’t know what funny about that.
    It’s only my mom who understands and I hate to keep burdening her.

  • Ruth Arnold says:

    I am in a similar place with work, feelings, etc. It’s all so overwhelming and sometimes the tug of cancer also makes everything else seem so trivial. But as you pointed out, we don’t readily talk about on an as-needed basis. So, we internally stress and feel our fears about our cancers and our cancers taking us away from the concerns others seem so engaged in and as we once were. It is indeed that elephant in the room but often only seen by our eyes.

    Cancer has also besides trying to kill me, made me feel like a big weirdo. I am slightly distanced in the life I was once so fully in. I can see it from afar at times and can’t always enter fully.

    I get the food thing. It’s perhaps the one element that remains as it was. My taste buds still like what they used to. Food can even take me to pre-cancer days and I can feel like I’m not sick. Food can put me in the moment and take my thoughts to the now. If somehow it wasn’t also the source of other health issues, it would be a great tool for therapy as something to turn to when feeling that cancer you that isn’t fully you.

    Your friends don’t understand. And they won’t. Some will want to. Some will for bits and drabs here and there. Others will see how you look and assume that it’s being taken care of. You’re lucky and fine. Work is such a minefield. Tell? Yes. But they forget. And like a flu, they somehow seem to believe that the cancer is no longer an issue or even present. They don’t get it. They won’t. And that’s not on you.

    I can tell you these things with compassion and clarity but implementing these truths in my own life is another matter. We all struggle. I also think many of us for the most part, struggle alone. Even with loved ones involved, even with therapists, etc. it is ours. It is at our core. It defies words and changes. It is literally a part of us.

    You are brave. Confessing regarded weaknesses is perhaps one of the bravest things one can do.

    I hope you know that you are brave. I hope you know that you inspired me and likely others with your candor. Being raw and real is oh so brave and so very rare.

    I hope you can find a peace in all of this. That’s a great wish. I have that wish for you.

    Thank you for this. I don’t know you but your words gave me a glimpse and allowed me to touch you.

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