Stage Four Metastatic Breast Cancer

So yesterday I probably committed some kind of blogging crime by telling you my mom’s cancer results and then saying I didn’t want to talk about it. Basically, from what research I’ve been able to do, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is nearly a terminal diagnosis. Something said that 90% of patients who take chemo for this cancer will die of it anyway.

It’s Monday night now, I found out on Thursday and honestly, I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t know what to say. I knew it was cancer, the doctor suspected it was stage 4, I’m not really surprised and that’s basically it.

But this behavior makes me sort of worried. I mean, I was crying over my mom and seeing a therapist about that since November 2011. I’ve been a mess for at least a year, randomly getting emotional, pushing away my friends and my boyfriend, writing about her, and yelling about her and just generally having a fit about her, and now I’ve got nothing to say except I’m not surprised and that’s it? Maybe I’m all emotionally-roller-coastered out, I got nothing left to give, you can’t get blood from a turnip, etc. I can see how that would be entirely possible, especially given the amount of other stuff I’ve got going on at the moment.

Then again, last night I cleaned my house in a frantic haze for over 2 hours while my boyfriend hid in the office and tried occasionally to stop me. I said on twitter cleaning is the only coping skill my mother ever taught me, but that’s not entirely true. She also taught me to meditate. Well, we learned at the same time. She paid for the class.

And now that I think of it, I’ve been having mood swings, from inexplicably sad to inexplicably happy. Not manic happy, or anything, just woke up on the right side of the bed happy. Same with the sad, not really down but sort of bummed out for no reason.

Underlying everything is almost a sense of relief. Family members of addicts and alcoholics can spend their entire lives waiting for “the call.” The one where you find out they’re dead, how they died, if they hurt anyone else and all that. I have dreaded “the call.” I wonder, will I cry? Will I collapse? Will I be so far removed as to thank them calmly and hang up the phone?

Everybody worries about their older relatives fates, but this is different. An addict never dies at peace. They have an accident, they run off the road, or they go slow with cirrhosis, or heart disease, or cancer, and they exacerbate their symptoms by continuing to use and drink. When an addict dies, everybody feels relieved. Since Thursday, I’ve been feeling an echo of that relief. And I feel guilty about it.

2 Replies to “Stage Four Metastatic Breast Cancer

  1. You don’t deserve to feel guilty about it. It sounds like you’re coping pretty well to me. I’m sure you’ve earned whatever reactions you have.

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