When the Dust Starts to Settle

Here we are at 4 weeks post double mastectomy. It is also 8 weeks since my last chemo injection. My life is slowly but surely coming back together before my eyes, even though some of those days I wasn’t sure it would.

The chemo is finally out of my system and my energy levels are back to about normal. Though some days I still find myself fatigued out of nowhere and I swear my memory isn’t what it was. I still can’t sleep comfortably in our bed so I’ve been camped out in the recliner or the guest bedroom with one million pillows to support still very sore body. Each day seems to be getting a little bit better though, and I find myself able to do just a small amount more than the day before.

My mood has improved a lot as well.  I didn’t realize what a grump I have been the past few months (obviously with good reason) but still! I find myself speaking more kindly to people, joking around more and having a lot more patience with Dane.

I get excited to plan my week – filling up my planner with each day’s goals and tasks (during chemo, I could barely open the dang thing.) I’m in physical therapy which has been a total game changer for my recovery – pushing me to get back out and walk, stretch and even head back to my beloved yoga classes.

As I venture back into my old world – where cancer didn’t consume my every thought, I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next and how much unexpected pressure I feel.

When you go through something so traumatic as a cancer diagnosis and fight, you are required to have all of these “big picture” conversations. Sometimes I like to think like that, imagining why I was given this mountain to climb, trying to convince myself that there is a reason for all of this. I’ve had all of these ideas run through my mind like, this is it, Martha! Find your passion and make your stamp on this world. Write a book! Draft up that cookbook you’ve always dreamed of! Switch gears and find a new profession! It goes on  and on…

Now that I’m through it…like really through it, I can confess… It is hard to type this without sounding ungrateful but bare with me, that isn’t the case. Everyone I talk to tells me how inspiring I am and how big of a difference I make. How I am a superhero. It’s humbling. The words are kind and the sentiment is pure, and it means a lot to me to hear it. But it’s also overwhelming. Living up to those great, great things. How can I possibly? So over the course of these past 6 months, I think what’s happened a little bit is I’ve given myself all of this extra pressure to “do something big”.

But really, the thing I want most in this world is to go back to my normal, quiet, minimally stressed life. I want to go to work, contribute, snuggle my family and feel at peace for a little while.

I had a conversation with a good friend the other day, we were discussing this topic about “our purpose in this cancer fight”. She recently finished up treatment as well. We were both a bit frustrated because what if we don’t come out of this as changed women who go on to do those big things? Is it bad that we’d rather just shrink back into routine and pretend like it never happened?

After thinking about it a little more, I looked at her and said, so what? It’s fine if no huge revelation comes, or we don’t “find ourselves” through this. But guess what? We’re alive. We’re here and we’re young and vibrant with families and we have SO. MUCH. MORE. TO. DO.

So that is what I’m focusing on. Not the next big thing, or how I’ll change the world… just living my life and trying to live it well.

Posted by

Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

8 thoughts on “When the Dust Starts to Settle

  1. Martha, Hi……you don’t have to go on and come up with some big new thing in life….you just live your life you would normally…Spend all the time you can with your beautiful young son and your husband, and of course with the rest of the family, go back to work…..you could write a book about your experience, as you did have a very tough road…maybe you can help other young or older women going through the same thing…..just be your lovely young beautiful self….God Bless you….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve thought a lot about this too. I enjoyed my life before the cancer diagnosis so to me, if you want it to go back to normal, then do that & love every minute of it. Some of the moments & people who made the biggest difference through this experience were those who really showed up. Loving yourself and loving your family to pieces has a tremendous impact. It’s your life, do what makes you happy ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Martha. I am one of your mom’s high school classmates and I have been following your journey. Wanted to say you’re quite a person and wanted to thank you for sharing you storing. I wish you well in your fight, as you have a lot to live for. take care! Doug Jones

    Liked by 1 person

  4. <3. I think for me – Cancer was a huge slap-in-the-face wake up call to do exactly that – simplicity and a life well lived. Learning how to ignore the pressures to do more/better that take away from the things that truly matter. So I feel you girl!


  5. Martha
    What you’ve already done is more than enough! You’ve encouraged so many people through your fight with cancer. It takes time to heal emotionally and physically.
    When the time is right you will know exactly what your purpose in life is. You’re finally free 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Any life threatening experience gives you the permission and power(!) to write your own rules and define success on your own terms. It’s your Joker card that’s always in your back pocket ❤️😌🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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