What ‘New Normal’ Means to Me with MBC
No one could prepare me for what would come next. As a breast cancer survivor, my stepmother told me there would be a “new normal”. That’s all she said. To her credit, I’m glad she didn’t say more. Each person’s breast cancer journey is unique to the individual breast cancer survivor.
Over the past 12 years of surviving metastatic breast cancer, I’ve been figuring out what that means. New normal. Things are certainly new. I’m not so sure they’re normal though. However, they are definitely different than before the breast cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment.
As a breast cancer survivor everything is multiplied. I feel emotions more deeply. I share more readily. I have far more compassion and I work way harder. I have a greater appreciation for life and every moment I get to live it.
I rest more often. I go to the places I want to go. I buy what I need and many of the things I want. I no longer put things off. If I can do it today then I will and I do.
Every moment is special. Spending quality time has become my most cherished gift. I enjoy being with those I love. On the other hand, I no longer waste time with people who have shown me that they can and will mishandle me. Life is too short to be intentionally mistreated. I have learned to believe what people show me. At the same time I have become more genuine, more open, and certainly do not omit the truth. The breast cancer journey and surviving has made me more genuine.
My faith in God is stronger. My desire to always leave situations better than I found them is overwhelming. I help others more. I ask for less. I take nothing and I give my all.
After chemotherapy, my body is more demanding of me. When I need to rest, there’s no pushing forward. When I catch a cold, it feels like the flu. When I catch the flu, it’s indescribable. A headache feels like a migraine. I get cold when the temperature is below 75 degrees. I start freezing when the temperature is below 73 degrees. No exaggeration. My bones ache when I walk through the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Arthritis and neuropathy are now a part of my life.
Arthritis shows up in the form of achy bones. It certainly doesn’t take much for the aching to happen. Neuropathy is a numbness that occurs in the hands or feet. For me, one foot and lower part of my leg is where I feel the tingling. The neuropathy is not constant. It comes and goes; or shall I say, it is more obvious at times.
Things are certainly different. They are sometimes difficult. But I’m here to tell you about it and for that I am grateful. I’m living life after surviving. – La Tonya Mouzon