I didn’t sleep well last night, and I know that sleep directly affects how I feel the next day. Reality is starting to settle in, but also fear. With every pain in my body I’m wondering if it is spread. Does the blister on my hand mean anything? How about that pain in my breast? The pain (it isn’t really a pain, more an awareness of feeling) in the breast is especially concerning. I find myself wondering if it is reaching the chest wall? But the logical part of my brain is saying, it could just be the biopsy healing – after all they did stick rather large needles in to extract core samples.
One lesson I have is to not tell anyone new at the end of the night. Telling people is hard – there are reactions and conversations that accompany the news. Doing so just before bed is apt to disrupt my sleep – but the late day news of the second biopsy is just as much to blame I’m sure. Mostly I’m pointing people to my blog, just so I don’t have to keep saying it. There is an emotional toll that occurs on both sides. Some people want to reach out and talk, but I’m not there yet. I cannot talk about it. I think that when I have a treatment plan, and enough information to actually have something to talk about, then I might be able to talk about it.
One of the thoughts on my mind is my outlook, and how much planning for the future do I do? I cannot schedule anything without a treatment plan, and I have no clue how sick I will be. I find myself thinking, “I need to do this before I get sick”, as my mind is telling me that the treatment is what will make me sick rather than the disease that I have now. When I talk about the future, I’m thinking about how much do I set things up so that I can pick up where I left it, or that it keeps going while I’m away, versus how much do I just let things go.
I’ve submitted the paperwork to put my studies on hold starting September for a year. My project wasn’t progressing at all as planned, and a year away will make it unrecoverable. I’m not actually sad about that. I’m looking at what things I can do in the next few months to make the most of the data I already have – favouring the creation of journal articles for publication over any thoughts of constructing a dissertation. I’m more excited about the opportunity to start again with a new project (perhaps an autoethnography based upon this blog – looking at the role blogs and social media play in the mental health of cancer patients and their families). I was filling in something yesterday that had my credentials. I’m a PhD Candidate, which is written as PhD(c). I guess that is the credential that will remain after my name for at least the next couple of years. I remind myself that getting this far has been a huge accomplishment, and is worth celebrating.