The New “Normal”

As I journey the winding road of recovery with the goal of staying in remission, I find that what was once normal does not feel normal anymore.  For example:

* I do not like chocolate anymore – seriously.  This is weird but ever since I had my surgeries back in September, I have not wanted chocolate.  I can eat an Oreo every now and then but honestly, that’s not “real” chocolate so it’s taste is o.k. with me. I don’t eat them often and when I do, it’s only one.

* I am no longer the carb addict I once was.  I am a southern gal at heart and I used to love biscuits, grits, and gravy.  I couldn’t get enough bread or pasta and I certainly never met a dough that I didn’t like. Now, I don’t want all that.  If I have a veggie or turkey burger, I opt for a lettuce wrap rather than the bun. I can enjoy a slice of fruit pie but those indulgences are few and far between.

* I get tired easily – is this because I’ve become a couch potato?  No. It is because surgeries, chemo, and any other medications that have been pumped into me have altered my physical makeup.  Literally.  It will take me a while to rebuild my stamina but I will not rush it.

* I ask for help now.  Before being diagnosed, I was of the opinion that if I asked for help, my fear was that I would be seen as weak, lacking ability, and that I would be judged for not being able to do it “all” by myself.  In reality, I have learned that it is actually a sign of strength to ask for help.

* I do not care what others’ opinions are of me.  OK, for those that know me, this is not new.  However, whenever it came to my kiddo, I tried very hard to make sure I presented a smiling face no matter what when in the presence of other parents because I wanted to belong to the “cool parent club.”  I didn’t say “no” when someone needed a volunteer at school, scouts, or church functions. I overbooked myself – that old saying “If you want something done, ask a busy person” was my life.  I now say “no” without remorse and often without explanation.  I am still polite but if I feel tired, it’s o.k. to say so if someone asks how I am doing.  If I need to sit down, I do it rather than trying to tough it out.  I no longer fear that someone is going to turn his/her nose up at me and think less of me for being honest.

So does all this mean that I am not normal?  No, it means that the needle has moved and this is my new “normal.”  In reality, it likely should have been my “normal” all along but it took being diagnosed with cancer for me to realize it. And I have learned that I am a cool parent. I am a mom who has battled cancer and is still here to raise the kiddo. I have shown everyone – especially my son – that I am strong person who has a desire to live and who has put her mind and body to it to beat this stupid disease.  If I can do this, there is nothing that can stop him from setting goals and shooting for his dreams.  What’s cooler than that???

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