Tonight, once again, I find it difficult to sleep.
Insomnia isn’t new for me. I cannot seem to shut down my brain.
Much of the time, I write about being positive, seeing beyond the challenges, and showing off a fierce, fearless version of me, but I need to acknowledge that life isn’t always easy for me. And it means that I have to share what I call, “my ugliness.” It’s a much more raw version of me that I will allow others to see.
Tonight, I’m wrestling with fear.
I’ve felt it coming on for the last several weeks. I’m sure it’s due, in part, to the fact that I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of a diagnosis. And so, sleep continues to elude me.
Nearly 10 months ago I found myself in the hospital ER, only to find out from a CT scan that I had a “cluster in my mesentery and lesions on my liver.” It was one of the scariest days of my life, because I started walking down a road that I never dreamed I’d have to walk–Stage IV cancer.
Oh, I’d had cancer before. Stage 0 Ductal Carcinoma in situ, aka breast cancer. I opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction, so I was able to kick its butt before it kicked mine. And that day in the ER, I was within weeks of five years of that diagnosis.
But now this? Stage IV carcinoid/neuroendocrine cancer.
The beast lives within.
And the last nine months have been surreal at times, and I have lost more sleep than what is healthy.
As I am coming up on the one-year mark, I find myself fearful. I put on a face of hope, but I’m scared, and angry, and confused. Oh, and did I mention, SCARED??
It’s difficult to forget, ignore, and let go of the words I heard from the first doctor. The words, “…a year…maybe two…” echoing in my head, as if he were banging a huge gong in my head. No wonder I have trouble with sleep!
I’m told by others who live with cancer that I’m not alone in this struggle…this fear…this lack of sleep.
I know that this is all part of my journey.
And here I am, nearly a year later, with more knowledge and understanding of carcinoid, and a new team of doctors who keep reminding me that this is slow-growing and that the prognosis is not quite as bleak as it was first presented.
Yet, I am facing the hurdle of that first anniversary. It has me spooked. And I cannot sleep.
I am told to pray. To give my fears to God. But I also struggle with this idea of trusting and negotiating all the details with “The Man Upstairs.” I feel like he walked out on me a very long time ago. Decades ago.
Five and a half decades of being thrown into fire with more hurt, more pain, more challenge, many nights with no sleep.
Quite frankly, I’m tired.
I hear platitudes from others who often don’t know what to say other than, “He (God) won’t give you anything more than you can handle,” as they walk out, and face their own sleepless nights.
For the most part, I can see the options, the best, the possibilities. But there are times, like tonight, where the “beyond” is associated with a date or situation that I have trouble facing.
When I coach others, I often ask this question: “Where do you see yourself in three months?”
Tonight, I ask myself that question and I’m feeling choked by the fear of someone else’s words and suggestion, that in three months I’ll be facing my imminent demise.
I know that there are no guarantees for any of us, including me. I understand that we all must live one day at a time. I try to live my life accordingly.
But there are sometimes when I can’t sleep. And those nights of fearful sleeplessness rob me of my joy the next day.
I’ll be glad to get through this spring and into the summer. Get past the one-year mark. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally be able to fall asleep…