On my mind.

Paraneoplastic took another person today. I didn’t know the person well, but it hit me hard. It dredged up a lot of questions and emotions that I’d buried deep down.

Will the cancer come back? Will I have further neurological damage? What’s my plan if I deteriorate again? No one knows what’s going to happen, so all I can do is live my life and try not think about it. It’s not the best coping mechanism but it’s the only one I have. It’s hard to deal with these open-ended questions.

The therapist at my rehabilitation center doesn’t like “avoidance coping”, where you ignore the stress and avoid dealing with the problem. But thinking about dying makes me spiral and puts me in a very dark place, so why should I deal with it? Why would I want to think about a topic that offers no relief in answers and always takes me to that dark place?

Another example of avoidance coping was when a hydrotherapy therapist at my rehabilitation center really offended me and made me cry. The entire situation made my social anxiety go through the roof. I was already anxious about putting myself in a new situation, and when I showed up for my first appointment, which was on my birthday, she had a scheduling conflict and left me sitting in the waiting room the whole time without telling me what was happening. After my husband complained several times, she finally came out, took zero responsibility for the mistake and was annoyed that I didn’t speak Dutch. I decided right then and there that I was never going back. My therapist thought I should meet up with her, just to clear the air and explain to her how her actions made me feel, but I didn’t want to. I’d never have to see her again after my time at the rehab center, so I decided to avoid it.

It would have been brave of me to confront her, but it didn’t seem worth it. Not everyone is going to be nice all the time. I know I’m not. The confrontation just seemed unnecessarily painful. And in the long term the experience was insignificant. I got to leave and never think of her again. Why make it a bigger deal than it was?

I accept that I might get sick again without any chance of getting better. I may die. It’s a possibility. But I’m not going to plan for it. I do weekly physical therapy and I push myself hard. I’m not going to get better, but I’m not going to curl up on the floor and wait for things to get worse, either.

On a side note, it seems that every time I say ‘PNS’, Adam thinks I’m saying penis. So there’s that.