Skip to content

Confessions Of A Cancer Patient

survivor guilt

I’m awake, for maybe the fifth or sixth time tonight. Like other nights, it’s a cold sweat that wakes me. I rise up and stare sleepily at the light that shines through my blinds. My body aches, there is no comfortable position to sleep in. I rise slowly so I don’t wake him, and I hear a soft snore that tells me he’s deep in a dream. The weight of my own body almost feels like too much and balance takes real effort. It’s a long walk to our restroom only about 6 feet away. I dampen a cloth and moisten my face and my chest. Sore still both from accessing the port and a deeper pain that I can’t shake.

I haven’t slept a full night in I don’t know how long. In the mirror, I see the reflection of a woman I still don’t recognize. Short fuzzy hair, darkened nails and a round face, moon face they call it; they, the others, like me. I don’t like this woman. I feel a pit in my stomach, a feeling that’s familiar. A cross between angry and sad, my eyes water. It’s time to make my way back.

The more I sleep, the less I have to think. As I lay back down, I hope the next interval comes further out. Maybe I’ll sleep until I have to get up with the kids, but it’s unlikely. I stare up at the ceiling wishing I could cry. I know if I allow myself to start, it could be hard to stop.

The silence is deafening, I lay waiting and the hours pass.

This happens almost nightly, sleep escapes me and I just lay here. I watch him sleep and sometimes catch a giggle. I stare and watch his face as it changes from serious, to a smile and then fades away as quickly as it came. I lay there and wonder what he dreams of so vividly, and I hope it’s of our son (or daughter) in heaven. My heart aches more now, so I imagine something different. A dream where he is a popular Star Wars character, now I giggle.

To be honest, it could be much worse. I’m already expecting good news from a future scan. In fact, yesterday might have been my last chemotherapy session. I feel a sense of deep guilt at that realization, so many fight for so long and here I am, possibly done. I don’t know if I’m ready for what’s next, this “New Normal” the cancer community talks about. What I do know, is it’s in Gods hands now. So, I leave it up to him.