Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m just a mess.
It hit me out of left field, how alone I’ve been feeling lately.
I went from feeling motivated, grateful, appreciative, full of life and energy.
Today, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to breathe.
I woke up early, when Gaby left to shul with his lulav and etrog for Hoshanah Rabah. I got dressed, made the bed, and went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the kids. Scrambled eggs for Tani, bagels with cream cheese and slices of pickles and cucumbers for the girls. I’ve been eating plant based for a couple of weeks now so I made myself a protein shake, a salad with tahini, two rye crackers. I drank 30 ounces of cold water and then cleaned up from breakfast, washing the dishes, then unloading the washing machine. I thought about my work deadlines before Simchat Torah, a document I need to finish before the weekend, plus a month worth of social content for a flooring retailer.
I yelled at the kids, refereeing their seemingly endless fighting. I need the holidays to be over, for them to go back to school and get into a routine. It has been too much vacation. I had no energy to plan anything fun, no time off from work to go away. We both worked, so the kids spent Chol Hamoed with babysitters, watching TV or movies. I felt like a failure reading the list of trips friends went on throughout the week.
Gaby comes home with a birthday cake for me and I’m a wreck. I’m angry and upset. I need to escape, I want to go away. I want to be alone. I unplug my laptop and reach down to pick it up, to move it into the bedroom so I can get to work. I’m furious with everything.
The pain in my lower back is intense, crippling. I drop my laptop back onto the chair, the pain radiating down my right leg. I’m doubled over and I can’t stand up. Gaby rushes to help as I cry out in pain. He helps me to the bedroom as the tears pour down my cheeks. It hurts to lie down but I can’t sit back up, the pain is too much.
But he has to take the kids to a movie and I can’t move. I call my Mom to come and help, my work deadlines causing me to panic. She drops what she’s doing to rush over, to help me take care of Sivan while Gaby takes the other kids to a movie.
I’m so over all the emotional and physical pain. The mental anguish. Is this the depression everyone warned me against? These mood swings are unbearable. One minutes, I’m totally fine and positive, and the next I’m an emotional wreck.
It’s not just my birthday that has caused me such anguish. It’s my body, my hair, my face.
I feel so ugly. Looking at the mirror is torture. My hair pokes out of my head in tufts, unruly and untamable. It’s thick and wavy, frizzy and wild. I try to wear my fall and wigs as much as possible but I can’t wear them around the house, they cause my head to itch something terrible, so I spend days looking at my horrible hair in sadness.
My gastric bypass dress still hangs in the closet and I haven’t been able to screw up the courage to try it on. What’s the point? I haven’t lost much weight since pre-cancer. I’m still gaining and losing the same three kilos. It’s torture, weighing myself every day. But I’m following the two bunnies and accountability in weight loss is key, so I get on the scale every morning and watch the numbers go up and down without really going anywhere at all.
I feel stuck and helpless. But the anti-cancer book says that those feelings will make the cancer return so I panic that these feelings will make the cancer come back, and now I’m depressed, defeated, and full of anxiety.
I don’t know how I’m going to face Simchat Torah. I can’t seem to break through the cloud of unhappiness to find the joy. How do I celebrate finishing a year of reading the Torah when I spent majority of the year sick? I missed week after week of Torah reading because of cancer.
How am I going to get dressed and go out tonight for Simchat Torah? How will I be able to talk to people? No one wants someone depressed at their Chag table. How am I supposed to mingle with 60 guests tomorrow?
No one understands me.
I feel like I’m going crazy.
The heating pad and Acamol start to work and I’m able to move, to sit up, to go to the bathroom by myself. The headache though is intense, I’m hot and dehydrated from all the crying.
My Mom finishes a puzzle with Sivan and help find all the salad fixings from the war zone that I call my refridgerator. I’m bringing fruit and a salad to dinner tonight and I have to rally, but I still can’t bend down.
Terrible thoughts fill my mind. Gaby deserves better than me. I don’t deserve to be loved. The kids will be fine without me. I hate myself. I hate my body. I’m so ugly.
It’s too late to cancel our Simchat Torah plans, we have no food in the house. I tell him to pack the CBD, hopeful that two drops will put me out of my mental anguish.
When they take out the birthday cake at dinner tonight, I hope I’m so blitzed out of my mind that I won’t weep into the meringue frosting.
I feel so alone.
But I’m a fighter.
I’m a survivor.
Welcome to 42.