When people see me out in public I would imagine they think something like this: ‘Look at that bald woman with three kids. I bet she has cancer. How sad for her, but she looks pretty high functioning and she’s handling three kids alright at the deli counter so she’s probably okay.’
For the most part they are correct. I am okay. I will live through this. But allow me to clue you in to a snippet of my daily inner monologue.
What follows is a glimpse at my ‘stream of consciousness’ thinking at any given time:
Why didn’t I sleep last night despite the multiple sleep aids I took? I am so tired. I’m definitely taking a nap today.
I feel so guilty that I’ve sent my kids to camp/daycare all day. I am home and have some relative functioning skills. I should be parenting them. God, I feel terrible about this.
But if they were here I would be cleaning up spills and poop and breaking up fights and screaming at them or the dogs. I’d be failing at making them happy. How am I expected to stop generating cancer cells when I am so stressed about ruining my children and being miserable as I try to not ruin them?
I wish my husband would help me more. But I NEED him to go to work and work hard because we need insurance more than pretty much anything else. And maybe someday we will suddenly make a lot of money and he will get his employee discount back and buy me diamond earrings? I would love diamond earrings…
Maybe if I continue to overexert myself I will legit pass out in a public place and will get taken to the hospital by an ambulance and get to lay in a hospital bed without moving for a few days. That would be ideal. No kids. Bedpans. Modular bed.
I hate my body for doing this to me. How am I ever going to stop making cancer cells when I cannot stop being a stressed-out mom? Why did I get cancer in the first place? Why me? I’m the only one of my peer group to have had a parent die (when I was pregnant, no less) so why am I also the first to get cancer? What the fuck did I do to the universe?
I am alone in the house. I should make myself exercise. Or pay bills. Or call one of the thousand people I am supposed to call back. Or clean up. But I’m going to take a nap. And then I will wake up and feel guilty, thus probably perpetuating the growth of more cancer cells.
I won’t have a ponytail again until I’m 40. FUCK THAT.
How do I finagle a trip to one of those huts over the water in Tahiti when this is all over? I think I deserve that. But who will watch my kids for that long? And who will pay for it? I have first-world problems. Think about that Syrian child in the ambulance. Perspective.
But I still have cancer at 36. And I still function rather poorly behind closed doors because I’m too proud to ask for more help. And my children will remember how I abandoned them for 6 months. They will resent me. I resent myself. I resent cancer. It took my dad from me way too young and now I’m suffering through it.
I wonder if I’ll ever be beautiful again. I wonder if I’ll ever taste delicious things again. I wonder if I’ll ever live a day without worrying the cancer is back. I wonder why my DVR didn’t pick up the Southern Charm reunion.
I am an asshole for not being better at thanking people for all the help they give me. Do they know how appreciative I am for that meal? That carpool they drove? Shit, I’m failing at that.
Why won’t these dogs stop barking? Am I capable of murdering a dog? I might have to.
Maybe I should try a tiny dose of the Grape God again. I’ll do anything to get some sleep. Maybe I just dosed it wrong? I wish Starburst cured cancer. I love Starbursts.
So there you have it. A tiny glimpse inside the mind of this cancer patient. Please don’t call DCFS or put me on a 5150 hold.
Wait maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…?