I had an amazing conversation with a mother of a cancer survivor last night. It was the first time that I have been able to sit across the table from someone who knows exactly what we are going through. I am afraid I might get addicted to talking to her!
One of the things we talked about last night is the feeling like we are not the same people we were “pre-diagnosis”. I feel like there are multiple versions of Angie out there. There is the pre-diagnosis Angie and the post-diagnosis Angie, at a minimum. But even this post-diagnosis me has multiple versions and variations. Some times I am happy and positive, some times I am in a funk. Some times I feel like taking on the world, which for me means going for walks and talking with friends and cleaning the house. And some times I want to become part of the couch, and if I do talk to people I am so angry at the world that I am spittin’ out fire like a medieval dragon.
I can’t specifically list for you how I am different now than before Wes’ diagnosis, but I know I am different. I am nervous about how paranoid I will be about Wes’ health when we are done with treatment and released back into the real world. I worry my “get ‘er done” attitude won’t come back. I fret over the ripple effect of Wes’ diagnosis on our friends and family. I am not sure if my inability to focus my mind on any issue other than Wes is permanent.
Sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, therapy week.
Earlier this week I had lunch with a mom of a child with cerebral palsy. I was drawn to this woman when I met her at a party a week before Wes’ diagnosis. Even then I felt a kinship to her based on the difficult first week of life our sons both had. And now. Well now she is a valuable part of my “this sucks” circle. See, one of the things I still remember from Pysch 101 my freshman year of college was this concept that we each tend have a group of people that we talk to about issues. Each person in that group has a different function. Typically you have your person who is on the “well, perhaps what they meant was…..” devil’s advocate bandwagon, your “look on the bright side” positive thinker, and your “yeah, that sucks….you want I should beat them up?” comrade in sympathy. This woman falls into the last category for me. We can sit across the table from each other and talk about the hard parts of our days, the things that make us angry about our children’s diagnosis. But then she can say “I’ll hang in there if you hang in there….deal?”. Deal.
It has been quite the therapeutic week for me!
A wonderful customer of the doggy daycare I co-own gave me this incredible acorn container that he beautifully hand-crafted. May not seem like a big deal to most, but I had recently read about the symbolism of acorns. Acorns only appear on a mature oak tree, and because of this they are often thought to be the symbol of patience necessary to achieve difficult goals over long periods of time. People often feel acorns represent perseverance and hard work.
May Wes, I, these two amazing women, and anyone else facing a difficult time persevere!