by Bridget on November 30, 2011

Today I feel heavy. Not the “ate too much Thanksgiving dinner” heavy. Not the “worked out so much my legs feel like lead” heavy. And, not the “just got hit with some deep thoughts” heavy. Today is the “life feels hard” heavy.

From the moment I woke up today, I have felt tired. I could have lay my head down at any point today and immediately slept. T.I.R.E.D. Either the classic radiation fatigue is moving in or I am still recovering from a lovely but busy holiday weekend. Maybe a little of both.

My skin has become tight, swollen, tender and raw with open sores developing under my arm and along my bra lines. I can no longer wear my usual attractive/supportive underwires, and have had to switch to prophylactic undergarments, rigged with various cushions and pads. I have a special nightly wash, two different prescription ointments/lotions, and a regular regimen of anti-inflammatory drugs. Comfortable sleeping positions are few and bear hugs (one of my favorite things) are crippling.

When Dr. Small asked me this morning how my skin was doing, I said. “It’s pretty bad.” Upon examination he replied, “That actually looks pretty good. It is going to get much worse.” Aw, shit.

Dr. Small then sent me upstairs for some blood work and my favorite phlebotomist was there. When I asked her about her holiday, she shared that it was horrible. Her boyfriend had been murdered on Halloween and they usually spent Thanksgiving with his family. They have one child together and he was the father of three others. I was shocked, teared up, hugged her, and listened to what she was willing to share. It is a bit of an understatement that my walk back to the car was heavy.

I thought about all the shitty things that people go through. Everything from a basic nothing-is-going-right bad day to a catastrophic life changing event, like losing a loved one. Sometimes I use my alter ego, Suzy Sunshine, to avoid feeling sadness or despair. To find the lessen in every situation because feeling an emotion other than happy or optimistic can feel uncomfortable and unpleasant. I’d much rather feel joy or hope. Who wouldn’t? But, sometimes, it is important to simply honor our feelings and really feel them rather than pushing them aside or morphing them into something more comfortable.

I recently heard the expression, “If you cannot be fully present during times of sadness, you will not be fully present during times of joy”. That doesn’t translate to indulging in continuous moping or sitting in depression. But, it does free me up to really see and feel different shades of the human condition. And, by being more present, I can understand myself and others a bit more.

So, today I feel heavy.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew November 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Love you, Bridget! Lots and lots of love. LOTS!

Carolyn Gulley November 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Crap, Bridget, I don’t want you going through all this! Remind me to save my hugs for later—-we will do mental ones for now. Keep thinking of the trips ahead—–Italy perhaps?

Mary Jane Myers December 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

I keep telling my kids that the crappy things in life have to be experienced in order for you to fully rejoice when things go well, the ying and the yang. It doesn’t comfort. You don’t deserve this. The funny thing about you is that if your heart is feeling heavy I’ll bet it’s more about the nurse’s story than about your own… you are eternally upbeat, positive, and so giving. You live your life beautifully and we’re all watching, taking notes, knowing that one in 8 of us will go through what you’re going through. You just do it with more grace, style, and joy than I ever could. Keep going Bridget. You’re worth it.

Darcy Dehl Ring December 6, 2011 at 11:11 am

Your in my thoughts and prayers…and you are right, sometimes we are so busy being Suzy Sunshine that we don’t take the time to feel the things we need to…good and bad.
Thanks for taking the time to share.

Deb December 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Hugs and love from Denver. Sometimes the best thing to do is to say nothing (on my end). But this can be said: I understand.

Jennifer December 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Such a sad story. I feel heavy just hearing it. Knowing that you are dine with your radiation as of last week makes me feel happier though!

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