In so many ways, the person I am now is the person I was then. I look the same, dress the same, know the same people but underneath I am different. I am living a life that runs parallel to the one I had before. But it is and I am different.
This isn’t just about cancer or about the surgery I had in October. Nor is it because I split up with my husband, started a new relationship, gave up my job and moved house to live with Master.
But those things are important, they are part of the person I now am. Just a year ago I was a busy professional who came home to an empty home most evenings. How I both loved and also hated that feeling. On one hand to close the door behind me and know that no one could or would turn up. But on the other that my life had just a hint of sadness about it. At times in the evening, I felt a little lonely. Now, I am not often alone.
I enjoy living with another person again and am happy with the person I have chosen to be with. We have a great time together, do fun and interesting things, visit great places and enjoy good times. But I do feel I have lost a little of what is me. The fierce independence I fought to have and the drive to do just as I wanted. It isn’t that I can’t have those things but I am not yet quite clear how to be the person I want to be. The cancer diagnosis has definitely changed me. I feel less sure of myself as a person, as a woman. It made me more dependent, in a good way but that also irritates.
The experience of having cancer, surgery, copious numbers of hospital appointments, radiotherapy has taken something from me. I feel I have become reliant on Master in a way that is good because it is something I needed. I know I don’t have to be the strong and silent type any longer, but that doesn’t stop me feeling insecure. Not having my own house, a job has freed me from some of the shackles that bound me to my old life. But they make me anxious too and fill my mind with what ifs.
I have savings now, something I didn’t have before but I need a larger financial buffer than I have. This week I had a meeting about a new project. Over the next few weeks I will be writing professionally again and not just blogging about life and sex. There isn nothing wrong with writing for my blog, but it doesn’t pay. Also this project will help me to refocus on myself as an expert in my field and escape the sick role I have allowed myself to slip into. Post treatment I have experienced a malaise that caused my mood drop in a way that I think is rather dangerous. I could quite easily settle into a new way of life. One that is just as claustrophobic as the one I had before I began this journey.
There are many aspects of my life that I wish to retain but there are new challenges that I want and need to take on. It is healthy to look back and to reflect and to be sure that the life we have is the one we want. This time the changes will be small and discrete, life will run in parallel but not be quite the same. That feels healthy and exciting too.