I start chemo in 11 days, but because of the central line placement on the 15th and oncologist appointments on the 14th, I really only have nine days left of feeling normal and being able to go out and socialize however and whenever I want. So I’m trying to make hay.
It’s hard, though. I am becoming increasingly angry about a few situations and I know that a lot of the anger is disproportionate to what’s actually happening, but the situations are triggering feelings related to incidents that happened during my first round of treatment eight years ago. This concept of “triggering” is one that I’ve understood in theory, but never really experienced until now. Anyone who reads feminist-minded blogs will be familiar with “trigger warnings” — basically a warning that material discussed in an article or essay may trigger feelings of panic, anger, fear, etc. in people who have been sexually or physically assaulted (trigger warnings are used most often when the topic is sexual violence). I really fucking wish there was some kind of trigger warning for real life. That the words would pop up in my face whenever I’m about to make a decision that will ultimately stir up those feelings of panic and anger.
There isn’t a real life trigger warning (other than my own common sense, but lord knows that fails me on an almost daily basis) so I try to deal with the anxiety in the best ways I know. Swimming. Breathing deeply. Keeping busy. Eating meat from as many different animals as possible at The Black Hoof. (That last one is on the agenda for tomorrow. Chris is nervous about all the strange meat, but I told her she has to be brave like me. The girl with cancer. Yes, I went there.) These things work, to a point. Sometimes the squeezing feeling in my chest loosens a little and then it doesn’t hurt to breathe.
But that’s only sometimes.