Powerless represents a feeling a lot of people have experienced in 2020. COVID-19 took hold, precautions were put in place, and we were told to stay at home. It changed nearly everyone’s lives, those with the disease, working in high risk jobs, and those who’ve sheltered in place. We’re still dealing with many of the changes to our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us feel powerless.
I felt powerless about developing cancer and all that came with it. I felt trapped in a defective body. I’d received the diagnosis and couldn’t change it, but now my whole life would change because of it.
I can’t say I couldn’t have made different choices. There are people who attempt to treat diseases naturally or refuse surgery or chemo for various reasons. I wanted to LIVE. I wanted to increase my chances of long-term survival, to watch my kids grow into their adult selves, and to someday (years from now, it seems) enjoy grandkids. I wanted to grow old with Jeff. He promises to be cantankerous and needs me to put him in his place. I felt the best way for me to live and love and experience all this, I had no choice but to take the doctors’ advice.
When someone puts you to sleep, then under the knife, you feel powerless about the outcome. Fortunately, my lumpectomy went very well. If you want to know a feeling of powerlessness, sit in a chair and let someone inject you with chemotherapy drugs! I talked about the fear that chemo created. I didn’t know how I would feel during treatment or how sick I would get from the side effects. I didn’t know what would happen to me long term or if I’d get back to normal. I had no power over the effects of the drugs.
During treatment, I mostly did well. Found a formula for sleeping through most of it. A couple days after chemo, the sickness set in, and I’d lay in bed. I got to know the meaning of the phrase “death warmed over.” It didn’t last forever. I’d have bad and good days. I didn’t have power over which days were which.
Maybe I wasn’t completely powerless. I did make those decisions for surgery and treatment. I had nurtured a life that let me be surrounded by love and support. I took my better days and did what I could with them, enjoying time with my family or with a friend. I worked part-time, writing online for a test prep company, through most of my treatment months. I had the power to keep my spirits up and to have hope for the future. I had the power to choose as much living as my body would allow.
When you feel powerless, think of what you can control. Most often, it’s your outlook and approach to life. I’ve seen many women with cancer leading amazing lives while in treatment, during a series of surgeries, and after they’ve overcome the disease. I’ve even had some “careful” fun times during the pandemic, spending more time than ever with my sons who I know won’t live at home for much longer. During tough times, tap into a powerful, positive outlook and live more happily.
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