It’s that time of year when the clocks go back an hour. It’s darker in the mornings and darker earlier at night. And for me it feels darker all the time.
When I was a kid; and having just had a birthday this week, I can assure you I am no longer a kid; I loved the night when the clocks went back. “Yeah, an extra hour of sleep! Woohoo!” Yes, an extra hour of sleep would still be most welcome, if I slept that is. For me, night time is an unwelcome time. It’s when my pain is at its worse. It’s when the day’s activities wind down and my pain winds up. Without the distraction of “things to do” my mind has nothing else to focus on but how my body is rebelling against me. And if I lay in bed and try to think of other things, which I usually do, then my mind starts to race and I can’t relax anyway. This is not a new pattern for me. I have never been a particularly good sleeper as I’ve always struggled to shut off my brain. As soon as I try to fall asleep, no matter how exhausted I might feel, my brain kicks into high gear and starts to push every thought, want, idea and fear that has been looming in the shadows to the forefront of my mind, causing me to spend the next several hours thinking about and planning how I can deal with them. I start to form a giant “to do” list in my head that keeps growing and growing as I lay there. You see, it’s a vicious circle for me. If I let all my thoughts take over then I can’t sleep. If I clear my mind, I definitely can’t sleep because the nerve pain I experience takes over my thoughts. The nerve pain is always there, but if I busy my mind with other things then I can someone deal with it a bit better.
As the days of dealing with breast cancer and all of its ramifications turn into weeks, then months and now years, I sometimes feel like I am in a holding pattern not able to move forward. It’s like putting your car in neutral, revving the engine expecting it to move forward but all you get is a lot of noise and fumes but no movement. It’s like being in the middle of a movie you are watching on Netflix, when your internet is too slow and its starts to buffer right in the middle of the story and you sit in anticipation watching the wheel spin and spin and spin waiting for the movie to reload and continue.
My nerve issues are not getting any better. In fact the pain is much worse. Yesterday, my left arm felt like there was a vice grip clamped to the underside and I lost feeling in my hand. I could find no relief no matter what I tried. I am scheduled for two more MRI’s to try to get to the bottom of it all. I can’t spend the rest of my life just popping pills hoping to find some relief. Not that I take a lot of pills. I take the minimal amount prescribed as I don’t like being dependent on pills for everything. I need to find a way to maybe not be rid completely of the pain, although that would be wonderful, but at least a way to minimize it enough so that I can return to some sense of normality. “Normal”, ugh, aren’t we all looking for the world to turn back to normal. Covid-19 has turned all our worlds upside down and there seems to be no end in sight. Everyone’s life has been affected and we are all struggling with what this virus presents.
Now, more than ever, we need to pause and breathe. We are all feeling the pain of this virus in one way or another. Some of us are more vulnerable and have to take extra precautions, but Covid doesn’t care if you are weak or strong, it will invade your body any way it can.
For the last eight months we’ve all been a bit stuck. Stuck inside our homes, away from family and friends. We have to mask up wherever we go..and where we go has many limitations. We are stuck not taking planned vacations; going to weddings, bar mitzvah’s, christenings and yes, even funerals. As fall turns into winter we will face more challenges and hurdles but we can’t despair. We need to dig deep and push through the pain. Together we will get through it. We will reboot and start anew. The pain is unnerving but it will subside and life will go on. We may have “fallen back” but as with every year, we can look to “spring forward” again.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.