I’ve been feeling a bit manic-depressive these days (is that the term to use? or bipolar? Same feeling, either way).
In the past few days, I’ve had many, many moments of incredible sadness, fear, dark thoughts and all of the other stuff I thought I had left behind when my neck biopsy came back negative a few weeks ago. I signed off on my Caring Bridge site, set up shop here, and made it sound like “Cancer is gone! Normal life can return! Happy days are here again!”
This is what I wanted to believe, and what I think everyone wanted too. People want closure, especially to bad, awful things. Having that closure (with a happy ending!) gave people in our Caring Bridge community a sense of having “won.” I was done with treatments, the last biopsy was negative and we could go back to just figuring out how to be parents.
Unfortunately, I am coming to understand that life doesn’t really give that kind of closure. Especially with melanoma.
I’ve had a little bump on each leg for a little while now. I’m pretty sure they cropped up when I was on interferon, but they haven’t gone away. I think I thought they were bug bits at first; now I have no idea. The dermatologist didn’t comment on them, but then, I never pointed them out (I didn’t think they were anything to be concerned about). The day after my dermatology scan, my oncologist said that melanoma would likely recur as a hard bump under the skin, NOT as another mole (although, that is of course possible).
That didn’t really sink in until I started poking these bumps and realized they were hard. Under the skin. When I asked my oncologist if I should have them checked out, he told me any persistent bumps should be. Awesome.
So the incredible joy and happiness I had been feeling after my last biopsy has quickly devolved back into something approaching the depression I felt before that last biopsy. My mind is again going back to that terrible, pessimistic place where nothing good can happen and everything is bad. This weekend, I’ve been crying a lot, especially when I’m alone with Emmie. Happy things make me terribly sad because I think “This will never happen again,” or “How can we be so happy when life is so brutal and short?” I’ve had a terrible time falling asleep because all I can think about are bad, dark things.
But then, sometimes, something will happen to bring me out of that. Like tonight, I serged the edges of some lovely fabric I bought many weeks ago now that I’ve been putting off sewing because I have so many other things I “have” to do. But tonight I decided that I didn’t care if the living room was a wreck or that I *desperately* need to vacuum. I was going to sew. And I did. And I am happy.
I need to remember that. And I’m also calling some therapists tomorrow to find someone to help me get through the scary times. Because this cycle WON’T stop. Because melanoma can come back anytime, anywhere. Cancer is a bitch.