Last weekend, I dyed my hair a very bright red hair color in an attempt to disassociate myself from my appearance. It worked because when I look in the mirror, I don't recognize myself and I've been seeing this punk-nerd version of me in the mirror. It's a foreign sight so it appears I accomplished my goal last weekend. When my hair starts to fall out in a week or two, it's going to be the temporary punk Lara's hair.
My appearance isn't the only thing I don't recognize anymore. Since chemo and the barrage of anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressant medications that I'm on, I'm also finding that I don't recognize myself, my personality, at all. Where did I go? The aspects of my personality that I always thought made me who I am are slipping away. The dorky, happy-go-lucky Lara who is easily amused hasn't shown her face in awhile. I'm sad, scared and just want to hug my boyfriend from the moment he gets home until we go to sleep. My inner and outer self are foreign to me.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone tell me to "stay positive," I could probably pay off my co-payments for 2011. (I'll let you in on a secret - the constant "stay positive" messages make me feel like I should keep my dark, negative feelings to myself, and that's not realistic or healthy.) Before chemo, I was positive, with the occasional bad day here and there. Now I'm struggling here; these medications and the side effects are brutal. I want to be me again, and I keep getting further away from it.
I thought I had accepted my breast cancer diagnosis before but I guess I haven't or there are just different levels of acceptance with cancer. Looks like I just accepted the surgery and its outcome but the chemotherapy is a whole other ball game. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that I'm sick, that my immune system is compromised, that I'm not going to have fat happy babies for another couple or so years, or that I have to have my boyfriend help me up and down the stairs after each of my treatments. Nothing is more humbling than having someone help you do something as basic as walk up stairs. Unfortunately with each treatment, the side effects get worse.
Until I truly accept the fact that this is my life right now, I'm not going to be happy and the Lara I used to be won't be coming back until then.