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I Miss Myself

February 6, 2015

I miss myself. This started a few months ago and makes sense. Prior to my concussion and cancer diagnosis, I was an active, productive, deliverable-focused and more social person. I was busy working and studying. I spent time with my partner. I spent time with myself and I occasionally remembered to have fun. I was getting my life on track and I enjoyed the agency and freedom that allowed me.

These days, with my thyroid hormone levels nearly deplete in preparation for radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) next week, I spend more hours sleeping than awake. A minimum of 2 2-hour naps a day is necessary. Even when awake, I often resort to lying down because my head is too heavy and it’s too much effort to sit. I have lower back pain from all the lying down and my legs and joints ache for a reason I have yet to figure out.

Pain demands to be felt. So it’s safe to say that I have my bad days. Sometimes I’ll put on an act for people and it can be a good thing because I force myself to remember who I really am. Other times, I see glimpses of the old Nadha when I see or read something that makes me happy or indignant. Playing with a 2 year-old and hearing of a good friend’s pregnancy bring out laughter and excitement in me. As does talking to the lovely 92-year old lady in my building. They say to spend more time with people under the age of 6 and over the age of 60. But mostly, I’m too tired for that so I keep to myself. I miss the sun on my skin and just walking. Walking anywhere – to class, to the park, to a coffee shop, to meet a friend. I didn’t even realize this until yesterday.

I went to see my doctor a couple of weeks ago and after some tests, it is still apparent that I have remaining concussion symptoms. It has been one year – one whole year – since I received my concussion. This is why my reading and concentrating still aren’t back to what it used to be and is a big part of what gets me frustrated. Going down stairs is my new challenge. My depth-perception and balance are a little off but every time I make it down a flight safely, it’s a bittersweet feeling. Small victories right?

Cancer is the scarier word but it’s the concussion that is making my recovery and going back to my life all the harder. I am taking one elective course this semester towards my degree and that helps with having something to focus on. I have Accessibility Services helping me with accommodations for the course but the instructor is understanding and flexible so that helps tremendously. I have side projects going on too and that is great for reminding me who I am, but something’s changed inside me. I can’t explain it exactly but there’s this knowledge that I will never go back to pre-concussion/ pre-cancer Nadha. Some people who have got through cancer have said that they are ultimately thankful for having had the experience because they feel stronger and would never have become the people they are today without it. I think I had plenty strength without all this thanks very much but it remains to be seen if I change my mind.

Beach at SunsetIt’s important to just be with my feelings sometimes and tap into how my body and mind feel, and what my body misses doing without controlling it. A friend introduced me to Headspace.com and it’s been a useful tool for meditation. I like visually appealing websites and this is pretty-well designed with good animations.

I just realized that I have referred to myself in the third person at least twice in this post. Oh well, I suppose that helps illustrate my point further. I just had a mental image of me running down a sandy beach, waves lapping at my feet with a sunset in the background and throwing myself into the arms of myself. What a reunion that would be.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why I Chose to Get A Wheelchair For The Last Few Days Before Treatment | Nadha Hassen | Public Health, Social Justice & All Things Community

  2. Dream

    Hmm.. Yes. White sandy beach, waves lapping at your feet, sunset in the background… I can arrange that for October 2016. Easy.

    Not sure how I would arrange you “throwing yourself into the arms of yourself”. A cardboard replica of you that we take with us to the beach perhaps?

  3. Ramzeen

    I wish there was some way that we could accompany you on this (lonely?) journey but it’s one that you have to undertake alone – and that takes a lot of guts. We are there waiting to be called – you should know that. But your journey is 24/7 while we have other distractions. That’s a sad reality for me. So what we hope (and perhaps you too) is for that light at the end of the tunnel. When we all could breath a sigh of relief and say “boy, We’re glad that’s done and dusted”. Of that light, I’ve absolutely no doubt.

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