Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wigging Out to a Syncopated Beat

I’ve said goodbye to the wigs. I now feel like I appear as a deranged mental patient who got a hold of a pair of clippers. No one in their right mind would select this as a hair style, but as the saying goes “It will grow.”

With the super-short hair, I feel like I’m holding up a big banner that says “I had cancer!” With the wig, I could pass for normal in crowds and I didn’t constantly feel like I was displaying the fact that I had cancer. Even though I blog about it, I feel like it’s a very personal thing. Sometimes you just want to appear normal. With my hair on display, I feel like I’m flaunting it for the world to see. This whole discussion shows how self-centered I am in that I believe everyone I meet cares about my hair, or lack thereof.

I am trying to find my rhythm. Everyone else seems to be on the same sheet of music. I seem to be working off of something a bit more syncopated. In music, syncopation is defined as the shifting of the nomal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats. Stevie Wonder was famous for this – Superstition is a great example. Syncopation can be awesome. But I feel like I’m humming my syncopated tune, while everyone else is nodding their heads to strong classic rock beat!

I also find myself in a sea of people that are living life and are excited about the day-to-day things that happen. I am having a hard time getting energized about things that aren’t life or death. And in a way, this is awesome. I’ve been given a perspective that has allowed me to step back and see what is important and to not sweat the small stuff. But there is a flip side to this. If I’m not getting excited about the day-to-day things, then that means I’m not living life to it’s fullest.

Life after cancer is a combination of grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I feel like I’m grieving for the life I had pre-cancer. I was naïve and happy and oblivious to my own mortality. I will never have that again, and that sucks. When a person is in danger, it is natural to feel afraid. When someone has PTSD, the reaction to danger becomes changed, and you can feel stressed and frightened even when you are no longer in danger. I still fear cancer. I fear it coming back. My fear is unrational at this point, but I still feel it. Sometimes it overwhelms me. Other times, I’m able to let it fade into the background.

To sum it up, this mental patient is coping the best I can. Each day that passes is another day that I don’t have cancer. And as the old proverb says, I have to stop letting yesterday use up too much of today.

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