My favorite color is yellow. Yellow in the soft shade of butter. My favorite flower is a sunflower. Big. Bright. Fields of them. Smiling up at the sun. I love the sun. I tend to see the cup half full. I’m basically a positive person. Always looking for the silver lining. And if you know me, you know I’ve had a lot of practice searching for that silver lining. Why then do I feel so sad?
I woke up today feeling so blue. All morning I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks. I think I’m mourning my old life. I miss it to be honest. I know, I’m alive. You don’t need to remind me. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. But I’m still sad. Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t feel this way. Today I am sad. It’s been over two years since this journey started. You would think that I would be fine by now. I must have been so focused on my physical well being that my emotions have been left simmering on the back burner. Today they are boiling over.
In 2018 I left the life I loved in California for a new adventure in Indiana. I did this after my husband passed away and that Orange County lifestyle was eventually too expensive. I relocated in my hometown in northeast Indiana where it was a million times cheaper, envisioning reconnecting with people and just chilling. I spent the first year there trying to get used to the area that I basically fled from after graduating from college! Within a year I got bored and lonely so I decided to go back to work. Plus I wanted cheaper insurance! Hindsight is 20/20…
I was just starting to make a few friends, which is not easy in your fifties in an area that I found was very tight knit, when covid hit and my cancer started to rear its ugly head. My support group was already quite small and just like that it got smaller. Long story short, I survived stage 4 cancer. But my social life did not. I haven’t quite figured out if people just don’t like me in general, if covid isolation changed the way people interact or if the outcome of my cancer makes them feel uncomfortable. Whatever it is I don’t really have a support group encircled around me. I did get a puppy, so there’s that.
I have joined a few groups through the cancer center but what I have noticed is most people are probably 10-20 years older than I am. I know that shouldn’t matter but it’s the first thing I notice. I found a tai chi class and I’m the youngest. I went to a painting class and I was the youngest. Most participates are retired. I am too, but I’m retired due to being disabled. Most people my age are still busy at work. Then there is me. And being a widow doesn’t help. Just call me the third wheel.
I was invited to join a group of writers recently and we met at a restaurant. I made sure I ate before because here again, I can’t eat and talk at the same time. Can you imagine my embarrassment if food got stuck? I did get a glass of wine. But wait! They were my age!!
I miss not having to worry about every dollar. I’ve said this before, but cancer was the worst financial decision I’ve ever made. I think people in general do not realize how expensive the follow up to cancer is. Obviously there is the expense of chemo, radiation and the actual surgery. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Having the feeding tube surgically inserted. Having the port installed. Having the port removed. Doctor appointments with specialists. CT scans. Blood labs. Pet scans. The cost of a new TEP (that’s the prosthesis) every three months. The travel to all of this. Daily medicine. And now I have the daily supplies just to breath comfortably. For the rest of my life! Oh yeah and the dental issues I’m dealing with due to where my radiation was. Thank goodness for payment plans.
I was able to finally get on medicare so my monthly insurance cost was cut in half. Plus my supply costs went from over $300 a month down to $28 per quarter. But two and a half years of the previous costs literally have wiped me out. It was basically $700 a month for the bare minimum! I have cut down on basically everything. No more Starbucks for me! No new clothes. I never eat out. Maybe it’s a good thing I have no social life!
I’m also so over worrying every time I have a doctor appointment. The last two appointments I had anxiety so bad my blood pressure was through the roof. Then I worry about that. When I had my tumor my blood pressure was high because I couldn’t breath. So now I’m like, is it back? It’s not. But I will always have that concern.
And please do not tell me to praise your god for “curing” me. Who decided I should have this in the first place? Oh wow. I’m sad and bitter! I better find some sunflowers. STAT.
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