There is a picture of me around here from back when we were dating. My then boyfriend-now-husband asked me for a framed photo for an occasion birthday/Christmas done by a professional photographer. So I went to a local studio and had a picture done where I look young and healthy. The picture has been some place packed away for a while but now is featured prominently in his office, also know as our second bedroom.
As I walk by that picture these days, more frequently now considering where it is now positioned, I contemplate, me post cancer. In the picture I have long hair with natural blonde highlights. I was a good
thirty forty (lets be honest) pounds lighter. I also look happy, healthy, rested, and younger (well it was 12 or 13 years ago).
But what really strikes me in the picture is changes that have ensued. Since then, besides getting married, I have been through a cancer diagnosis and the ensuing roller coaster, gall bladder removal, numerous back procedures, and diagnoses of degenerating disks, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. I have also battled things like depression (and you wonder why?) and anxiety (figure that one out).
At the other end of this ordeal, I am fighting the battle of the bulge in a serious manner. My hair some how lost its ability to get natural blonde highlights when it grew back after chemo. I now keep it short. I used to have long hair because I was too lazy to go to the hairdresser regularly. I never used to get my nails done, but their importance grew after I lost several in chemo.
The pre and post (second) cancer me are very different. My life has changed in many ways. I am happily married, I do not work (because of my health). And I cope with my physical limitations, which are not all due to cancer.
We made big changes in our lifestyle. We moved further out from the city because I don't work and I needed one floor living. This was a very positive change. In addition, I have focused on learning more crafts – crochet, knitting, and now weaving. I also started my knitting group at a cancer support center, another positive change. I need to focus on more positive changes in my life.
My life is so different than what it was. The good changes are getting married, living in a one floor house, and learning to be more creative. I wish I had not gone through the cancer crap and other medical sh*t.
I do not consider this a new normal (that whole concept is inane to me), which was supposed to be my life one year(!!!) after cancer. This is my life. I can look at the picture of the younger, healthier me, and wish I was still as young and healthy, and that is it.