Early in the process of my blog, I asked my Facebook friends if any breast cancer overcomers had thoughts on emotions to cover. I had a few days on the schedule that I hadn’t definitively filled in with a topic. Someone suggested yearning to me. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in, then as I was writing about being resentful, my mind started stirring on when I felt yearning.
Way back in the old days, specifically Day 17 of my posts, I wrote about feeling resentful of what other people were doing that I couldn’t do. At that point, I wasn’t yet looking forward. I hadn’t found my hopefulness or experienced the relief that comes with the end of chemo. Further along in the chemo weeks and after they were over, I could see that (nearly) normal life was possible again, and I yearned for it.
Think of all those things you enjoy, then block yourself from doing them for 7 months. Oh, wait, I think I just described 2020! It’s been hard to be trapped in the house, not be able to shop much, not go to a restaurant for months, and not attend any sporting events or entertainment activities that would draw crowds. Gyms closed, churches closed, theaters closed, and museums closed. Family visits were very limited, especially for visiting elderly people in nursing or senior facilities. It’s been harder to enjoy 2020 than most other years!
When I was in treatment, I felt similarly trapped. Trapped by sickness, weakness, and too few blood cells, white and red! I couldn’t meet friends very often for shopping or fun. I couldn’t do many family activities, or even go out with Jeff so often. I was too sick to exercise. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t scour the land for craft shows! I yearned to do all these things and more, but I limited myself to the most important things in my life because I didn’t have energy for all the rest.
Yearning wasn’t as painful as many other emotions I’d felt. When I didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel like doing anything, anyway. As the time came closer to healing from treatment, I felt the yearning for the things I could almost reach out and touch. They were getting closer, day by day. I yearned for something more, something new, or something I’d treasured and lost. Yearning was more of an emotional ache.
As with most other things that occurred during cancer treatment, I couldn’t change my circumstances, so I did what I could. I got out a bit on good days. I spent time with my family. Friends came to see me. I talked to others on the phone or message with them. I went to those most important events I’ve written about – the Wicked play, the senior year activities, the graduation and party. Even though I yearned to do so much more, it was good to get a glimpse of my “old life” to quell the yearning.
You can find ways to quell your yearning should you find yourself in a similar situation as me. It takes more planning and some prayer that all goes well, but it’s possible to get out of the house and go for a ride when you’re in cancer treatment. Get an ice cream sundae and, if you must, sit in the car to eat and talk. Invite friends to visit and ask them to pick up food. Have Facetime or Zoom visits with family members. Remember to save your energy for special occasions, if you have any coming up. You may still yearn for more, but maybe it will ache a little less.
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