Giving give and take takeaways

Halfway through. My energy is seeping through me like finely grained sand in my hands. It’s so damn hard. I come to realise I cannot be the person I normally am. Suddenly acts of courtesy becomes insurmountable. I’ve dropped most interactions with others. My friends are remarkably supportive and I really wish I had more excess to be able to give something back. 

But I don’t

I’m done with worst part of the treatment. I recently found out that me and my family are not genetically disposed for cancer. We just started out holiday together. I even managed to go to Roskilde festival for one day, hanging out with friends, listening to music. I should be relieved. Happy. 

But I’m not

It’s not that I’m upset or depressed, I’m just not very cheerful in these days. The matter of fact is that I feel my energy failing, my patience growing thinner. At the beginning of the treatment I was able to see people, to write to them, to interact with the outside world. That is getting increasingly more difficult. Small obstacles makes me want to give up, tears are pushing through for nothing. I’m not able to be the person I want to be. I’m not able to be there for others, let alone lift them or make a difference. I struggle with the idea that I’m actually the one to feel sorry for. I’m the one that can be demanding – even unreasonable. Not that it’s imperative, but if I am it’s explainable. The irrational is normal in my situation. I don’t have to strive for perfection right now, because if I do it will positively drain me; I’ll be worse off than before. It doesn’t get any more simple from the fact that most of the time I feel rather ok. The side effects are manageable on a physical level. But psychologically the treatment is taking it’s toll. The effect is subtle, hardly noticeable on the outside, but with great effect to the ones closest to me. Sometimes close to overwhelming for me. 

But I’m not alone

When I sit in the waiting room at the oncologist I see all sorts of people. Some sit there all alone for every visit. Some are accompanied by a porter, being too ill to get there themselves. I dread the idea of having no or little support in this situation and yet this is the reality for some. An acquaintance of mine who had fought cancer himself reached out at an early stage. “When all comes to all this is a lonely battle“ he said. I understand what he meant, but for me this was never the case. I have gotten such great and powerful response from my openness. My network is rich and I’m able to articulate all my concerns. My surroundings are full of resources. This is far from the reality for a lot of people.

Afternoon tea with a side of support and understanding courtesy of my sister and mother the other day
What I experience right now, this is the darker side of my illness. I really try to keep a light head, but reality is it’s difficult. My heart goes out to everyone in this position that do not have access to all that I have; if you know someone like this I hope you reach out for them too. What I can say is that I still wish to be contacted and asked if I want to do stuff, that surely goes for all dealing with hardship. And that it is ok if you’re turned down; which is going to be a lot of the time. I find comfort in that at some point – three, six or twelve months from now – I will be myself again. Able to look back at this time of my life, grateful of all the support I was given even though I didn’t have much to offer in return. And most important: I’ll be able to reciprocate to all that are dealing with difficutlies, returning the favour that have been given so generously to me. Remember that the effort of giving often is such a small thing compared to the impact it can have on the receiving end.

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