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March 6, 2015

stam·i·na (noun)

the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. (Google definition)


I’ve noticed that when I do not want to write and cannot bring myself to articulate how I am feeling is when I am not doing very well, at least emotionally. Some people have noticed that I haven’t written in a while and have contacted me directly. I appreciate that. The truth is, I am not doing very well. I do not want to talk to anyone, I do not want to meet anyone. Not my closest friends, not my relatives, no one. I feel like nobody understands what I am going through. I feel like nobody can know what to say or how to interact with me. I feel like my emotions are stuck, bottled up inside me, just waiting to explode but I cannot evToy Giraffeen let them out.

A couple of days ago, I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment. On the way down, in the elevator, a 4 year-old boy got in, holding a toy giraffe.

“Hi!” he said looking up at me intently.

“Hello,” I replied, involuntarily smiling.

“Do you like my giraffe? I got it from my room”

I got out of the elevator and suddenly there were tears in my eyes. I am not normally a heap of emotions. I think it was just the innocence of his question and the simplicity of the moment that allowed me to at least to a small extent, let out what I haven’t been able to express. The frustration, anger, sadness, exhaustion. The craving for a simpler time. I do the mundane tasks because if I don’t at least pretend to care, there’s a risk that I’ll believe it doesn’t matter and that none of it matters.

Losing StaminaIt has been three weeks since I started back on my levothyroxine (aka Synthroid), but I am still exhausted, still achy all over with dry skin, dry hair, driest mouth, radiated taste buds, freezing almost all the time. I suppose I was hoping to be somewhat better by now. It takes stamina and I think I’ve got that. There are limits though and I feel like I’m running out of stamina. I know I’ll get through this slump but it’s definitely not easy. I am all about coping strategies. I isolate the public health/health promoter/rational/practical person in me from my current post-radiated, cancer-fighter self, and that gives me some sense of what I need to do. Doing it though, is a whole other feat.

I am going to try a 20s and 30s support group for people living with cancer at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. I don’t feel like meeting anyone I know but the thought of meeting other people who may be able to understand how I am feeling is somewhat tolerable.

I take photos and post them on Instagram because …. it makes me subconsciously believe that what I do matters. You know that social media phenomenon of people just making their life look great to the outside world? Well, my take is that capturing the good, the bad, the ugly is a way of reinforcing that I have a life, and that it is worth living. And right now, I need that.

Meditating helps somewhat, although it is not always easy. It is difficult to let yourself feel the pain and just be with it. I tell myself to trust the process. I tell myself that I have a heck of a lot of stamina and that I am pretty impressive for making it so far. Sometimes I believe it.

Anyway, I don’t want to write anymore right now. That’s how quick I can shut down. Goodbye for now.