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taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Sunday, June 1, 2008

“Why I’ve been so quite lately.”

I am sorry that I have been so quiet lately. To all my friends and family who have continued to support me and who have been part of this journey I feel that I should be completely honest with what my day to day recovery is like and how I am trying to navigate through the experience of cancer. It is now that, the part about ‘navigating’ through this, which in the recent weeks has caused me to feel overwhelmed, alone and incapable of expressing myself. So, I haven’t blogged.

I have been so blessed to share great news from my clinic visits with Dr. V. Truly my lab results have been almost perfect for months now. I have been blessed to have avoided any serious infections, problems with GVHD or significant problems with medications. I have remained in remission and my sister, Tracy’s, donor cells have engrafted perfectly. I love sharing my good news with all of you. I know that each day is a gift. It is one more day in remission and one more day closer to hearing the word “cured.”

But honestly, the recovery is incredibly slow: with constant fatigue, muscle weakness and pain that causes frustration and loneliness. All and any of these symptoms could be caused by medications, effects of the chemotherapy or emotional stress.

I find myself desperately trying to return to “normal.” What I want more than any thing is to regain control of my life. The moment I was told I had leukemia I was robbed of the life I knew. For so long I’ve been a bystander in my own life. When I’ve tried to “jump right in” I became very disappointed when it was so apparent that I wasn’t ready. I am trying to return to being a mother, which as many of you know, is an exhausting job. I find myself limited in ability and strength. I feel like I am in a constant battle with my body and so far my body wins almost every day. It is so frustrating.

Recently a friend asked me how I was doing. I thought for a moment and replied “I think I am in the ‘angry stage’.” She looked at me unsure what to make of my comment. I tried to explain that cancer is like experiencing a loss; like someone you loved is gone. And you grieve for that loss. Weird, right? I know I experienced similar feelings when I was diagnosed like ‘denial’ (this can’t be happening, I don’t have cancer) and then ‘acceptance’ (ok, let’s do this, I have faith that I will be healed). So, I think maybe I skipped the ‘anger stage’ and perhaps depression. I don’t know if that makes any sense… You would think that I would be the last person on the face of the earth to have these feelings. Yet feelings of frustrations, anger and guilt find their way into my day, my relationships and my tear ducts. And truthfully, I was caught off guard by these feelings and unsure of the ‘why now’.

I sit here in think “how in the world can I feel mad? I am in remission, Heavenly Father has blessed my life, answered my prayers and shown His endless love for me and my family.” Yet, I find myself mad that I got cancer, mad that my hair fell out, mad that I still don’t feel “great”, mad that I can’t be that mom that my children need, just plain mad. So, I don’t call my family, I don’t return friends calls and my mind is so filled with questions, thoughts and worries that I can’t sleep . How do you find your way out of that when you feel so tired and your body aches and you can’t muster the energy? Sometimes I can’t ever imagine feeling “normal” again.

Dr.V reassures me that this tiredness and muscles aches will improve as she reduces medication and she added “with time.” She tells me that my recovery is going well and not to consider these rough days a set back. The rough days will come and go she said. And then one day there won’t be rough days like this.

I have learned from other AML survivors that they also experienced similar feelings and had the same struggles. Knowing that my feelings are “normal” and finding comfort, encouragement and support has allowed me to be more open with family, friends and Dr. V. I have chosen to see a cancer therapist, whose experience has been with patients of blood cancers and those that have received transplants.

This is where I am. This was why I struggled so much to blog. This is where I will learn to be healed- physically and emotionally. I know that I do not do this alone. Thank you for the continued encouragement and prayers. This is where I find inspiration- through you.


Anonymous said...

I love you.


Amy said...

I have a feeling you will be getting a lot of I love you's today. Thank you so much for sharing the good with the bad.
This season of your life will take time to pass, but it will and you will come out the other side a different person. You are in my prayers and thoughts constantly. My hope for you is that you will continue to be comforted and healed on a daily basis.
If there is anything I can relate to you with it is the loneliness and anger of a disease. We have different diseases, but I so get it.

I love you Courtney! Stay Strong!!! We are all still praying for you:) hugs

Gina & Bay said...

I think it's safe to say that most of us feel angry about unpleasant things that happen. Not that cancer is unpleasant, it's down right hell. I would imagine your anger and frustration to come out. I feel anger when things happen that I don't understand. It's ok to have these feelings and I'm sorry you have to go through this long journey. Your situation is one of the toughest. But so are you. Keep swimming, I know you will make it to the top.

Susan said...

I love you. You have battled this with faith, strength, courage and grace... and now anger. Your new normal will one day take you back to your old normal. You are an amazing mother, sister and friend. You are my hero. Love you, Corkalee.

Anonymous said...

i am so glad u posted. i have been by everyday to see if u have made a post. and i am glad that u share ur thoughts. i do know how u feel. with the heart problems i had. i was grateful, but at the same time angry. cos i wanted to be with my kids so bad, but i couldnt be. i had to have family help. and i so wanted to go back to normal, too. i have always looked up to u. and i dont have good self esteem, so thats why i dont call. but i think of u everyday. i pray for u. and if u do ever want someone, and i know u have loads, please let me know. i dont want to be a burden. u can and will get through this anger part.

Amy said...

hey Courtney...I was reading a quote today that might lift you up in your time of need.

"God puts us in places where the odds are stacked against us only He can work a miracle in our lives and bring us out for His glory."

You are on my heart today and always for peace and healing.

Anonymous said...

You have every right to be angry--so be angry, its normal and part of the recovery process.

Just remember...there will come a day when you are able to "live life" like the rest of us will never be able to live. You will know and understand things the rest of us don't know--your perspective will be completely different and that has to be the silver lining or the "gift" of surviving cancer.

You are such a beautiful person and you've handle all of this with so much grace. You will get through this....stay strong!

Anonymous said...

You have every right to be mad as hell but you are just to dang too sweet to say that. Cancer is rotten and it is not fair that you have or had it so BE angry, yell, scream, then have a good old cry and feel sorry for yourself it is OK it is normal to be angry then you will start healing
Learn to dance in the Rain
Rhonda, WI


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