Monday, October 10, 2011

I HATE the New Normal

I started this morning in tears and ended it pretty much the same way... but for very different reasons.

One of the hardest parts about having cancer and going through chemo is this whole "getting ready for work" thing. Absolutely nothing fits. And I am bald. I know, I know -- it's what's on the inside that counts. I get it. But honestly, I am fighting for my life here AND trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. It's not easy and getting ready for work in the morning can be a real torture session.

I guess this is what they call "the new normal." I fucking hate the new normal, okay? And this morning I didn't want to deal with the new normal -- figuring out which scarf goes with my outfit or how to unbutton my pants without anything showing. And then I put on my new wig (so I could avoid the whole scarf-matching dilemma) and I lost it. I absolutely fucking lost it.

While my wig looks good, it's not my hair. It's too straight. It doesn't move the way my hair used to move. It cannot be styled because it might melt (it is a monofilament wig). It's just not ME.

And I want ME back. I want to get rid of these 20 extra pounds that are making my life hell. I want some color in my skin. I want thick eyebrows and eyelashes. I want my hair back and not this stubbly white shit that is sprouting up all over my skull. I want MY hair.

Then my darling husband made a most unfortunate mistake. He suggested I work from home.

I DON'T WANT TO WORK FROM HOME! I want to go to the office like everyone else. I want my normal life back!

So as you can see, my morning did not get off to a good start. I had another cancer meltdown. I dried my tears and went to the office where I could pretend to be normal.

And there, sitting on my desk, was a gift wrapped in festive paper with a card sitting next to it.

For me? But of course - this is the "new normal!"

I opened the card which was a humorous little note congratulating me on making it halfway through my chemo. From my boss. How nice is that? And the gift was a sweet coffee mug which he had picked out for me. It was covered with these inspirational wishes:

This is my wish for you:

- Comfort on difficult days
- Smiles when sadness intrudes
- Rainbows to follow the clouds
- Laughter to kiss your lips
- Sunsets to warm your heart
- Hugs when spirits sag
- Beauty for your eyes to see
- Friendships to brighten your being
- Faith so that you can believe
- Confidence for when you doubt
- Courage to know yourself
- Patience to accept the truth
- Love to complete your life

It was exactly what I needed this morning. EXACTLY. But that wasn't the end... Not even close. This is the "new normal."

At lunchtime I received this Edible Arrangement from three women I work with.

Then after lunch, another co-worker came to my office and gave me a beautiful pink bromeliad in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I put it on my filing cabinet and marveled at how many wonderful people I work with.

Before I knew it, the day was over and it was quitting time. I arrived home to find a little package in the mail addressed to me. When I opened it, I found a lovely card from another co-worker telling me to keep the faith. And she had picked out two sets of earrings and enclosed them in the package telling me that she thought they would look nice on me.

AND there was a sweet card from my sister which read: "Do you know how many calories are in a glass of wine? No, you don't. That's why we're friends!" And she added "sisters" underneath the word "friends." Love it!

I am absolutely amazed at the outpouring of support I have received since my diagnosis. But today was something all together different. I really needed it today.

Maybe I don't hate the new normal after all...


  1. All caught up. Congrats on finishing your third round. Cutest Edible Arrangement ever! I'm sorry your day started off shitty, but I'm glad it ended nicely ... it's nice to know when you have so many people in your corner cheering you on.

    (It's also nice that the Yankees are out.)

  2. I never liked that phrase, "new normal" There is no such thing as normal in anybody's life. Stuff happens to everybody that changes their days. You are going through a difficult time but it will be over soon and you'll get back to a regular life. If you are lucky, some day this will just be a memory. You get to choose how you react to difficult times in your life and while of course you are going to have days where it's hard, the fact is, you really are blessed with caring people in your life. In just a few months, you'll have a cute short do, you'll be done with steroids and able to lose the weight and will know how much people care for you!

  3. Wow, knowing how easily I cry, I would have been a ball of tears all day with all the wonderful outpouring of cards, and gifts you received today. I too was amazed at the gifts and food, and all sorts of things while in treatment. You will get through this, Jen. But it is not easy. Just know that you have a survivor all the way down in Glen ask en, Ca routing for yu too. Screw the new normal. It is only a block of time that will soon be behind yu. Keep on counting down the chemo sessions and they will get lower and lower.

    Hang in there,
    Huge Hugs,

  4. I'm big time impressed that you got yourself to work.
    Maybe it could be the new normal for now?
    Hugs & love to you.
    P.S. I need your address.