There are two kinds of battle wounds, that I know of. There are the wounds we wear on our skin for the whole world to see. And then there are the hidden wounds, the scars that are on the inside. It is the second type of battle wounds I am going to discuss in this post.

Unless you have experienced Cancer there is absolutely no way you can see the hidden battle wounds that it inflicts on its victims. One may be able to see its outlines in the form of a loved ones tears, anger or frustration but that is just the surface. I think these hidden battle wounds have caused the majority of my suffering. Cancer ripped its way through my life reeking havoc on my body and mind. At first my only focus was on my outer wounds. I was so self conscious of visible battle wounds, scars, radiation tattoos, sunken in eyes, blisters, radiation burn etc…I, along with my doctors, worked hard to heal all of these wounds. I was given medication, lotions, food etc…As time went on these wounds healed and I began a long journey of recovery.

It was after my treatments ended that I began to notice the other battle wounds. I had no idea what to expect, why I was feeling the way I was or how to deal with it. This is the moment I began to feel totally and utterly alone. Was I the only person who felt this way? Was I going to go the rest of my life holding onto these wounds, separating myself from the rest of the world more and more each year? Talking to family and friends just made my wounds grow deeper.

People tried to relate, listen and provide me with what I needed but that was impossible. They didn’t have cancer; they couldn’t see what it had done to me beneath my exterior. I am speaking both physical and emotional. The hidden physical wounds were many. Friends and family could only understand what they were seeing, “you look good”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that, as if by saying it somehow they would make it true. I did NOT feel good. The radiation had burned my organs. Digesting food was horribly painful, making me afraid to eat. I had to pee almost constantly and every time I did the pain was, and still is, blinding. Every time I had sex it was/is painful and I bled. For a long period of time I had no taste buds or sense of when I was suppose to be full or hungry. My vision was blurry, I suffer from hot flashes, cramping, bleeding and anxiety. These are only a few of the hidden physical wounds Cancer left me with.

There are also the hidden emotional wounds. The loss of self, anxiety of the future, fear of the unknown and absolutely terrifying reality that it could come back! These are only a few of the emotional wounds I deal with every day. As I have said in earlier posts I was not dating anyone and had no kids when I got sick. Who would want to date me, never mind marry, when I couldn’t have kids? Who would want to take on the responsibility of having to help me on the bad days, and there are lots of those. And who would want to start dating someone who could get a PET scan that said they were going to go through all that again? I couldn’t imagine, not in my wildest dreams, what person would willingly take on all those things.

I have an emotional wound named GUILT. What I put my family and friends through. How much I changed their lives. My family had to sacrifice so much, they still do. Everyone around me was scared, frustrated, mad, sad, stressed, the list goes on and on. I changed all their lives so much. And I didn’t change their lives for a day, week, month or even a year. I changed them for life. I stole a piece of their innocence and there is nothing I can think of that could ever make up for what I took.

I kicked Cancer’s Ass but it also did a doozy on me! If you are a supporter please understand that just because the cancer appears to be gone it is always a part of our lives.

Cancer has helped shape the woman I am now and because of that it will always be a part of my life. My wounds may begin to heal but they will never be totally gone. We need you to not forget, not try to pretend like it never happened and to accept that while we may look good there are still daily battles we fight.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for speaking the words so many of us struggle with.

Anonymous said...

I know EXACTLY what you are felleing and going through! I'm here for you if you need anything! :)

ShakenFruit said...

You are a superstar in my life

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing.....cancer has opened our eyes and we've lost our innocence. We now know that our lives can change in an instant. But you know what? Everyone's life can change in an instant; we're just more attuned to it and maybe it's good that we realize it is a possibility. Yes, sometimes ignorance is bliss, but I think it's more important to live each day feeling like it's a gift and loving your friends and family like there is no tomorrow. Just my two cents.....

Obsessedwithlife said...

I can definitely relate to this post!

Anonymous said...

You know, i have really run new people in my life off, because I try to put up a different persona of myself, for the fact that if I truly share with them my feelings, They will leave anyway..I dont want to seem needy and I dont want to be vulnerable to more hurt and disappointment.I feel as cancer survivors we have had enough!! I so admire you!!

Anonymous said...

Yes I feel most all of that too. I somewhat feel like it has left me with Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome. Of course the Doc has a pill for that too.


Anonymous said...

"There are also the hidden emotional wounds. The loss of self, anxiety of the future, fear of the unknown and absolutely terrifying reality that it could come back!"
these are MY words, cutie!
as u already know i was lucky and my cancer was still encapsulated when they found doc told me in april i am "healthy again"...ok. great. maybe my body is healthy again..but all that fear...i had conisation biopsy #1...and had a bad feeling afterward as if i would know that this wasnt all..exactly 2 weeks later i had conisation biopsy #2 ..everytime under general anesthetic...and then had to stay at home for 5 weeks and i didnt wanna see anybody..i am so thankful my parents came by every day and had a look for me..but..i didnt wanna talk..didnt wanna listen to somebody..i tried to get it right in my mind what i was going through..i know it might sound weird since i had a "prestage cancer" ..thats how they call it ova here.and ppl tell ya"oh was ONLY a prestage cancer"...fu*** was CANCER..the only thing i was lucky with : it wasn't spreading at that time already..!
and now i am sitting here..
..i am "healty"...i broke up with a guy before having the surgeries..since that i DIDN'T DATE anybody..i haven't had sex with anybody..i have been SCARED like hell to use tampons...i have been SCARED to go swimming...!!!
all these lil things u NEVER EVER worried about before..ALL these lil things are crossing ur mind..and i asked myself questions like: will it do something to it, when i use a tampon? could the water have an influence...? ALTHOUGH i got told from my doc i can do all that, yes i am using tampons again..i have been swimming again...but i am still afraid of having sex again..well, i dont have a bf right now..but one of these days i will find "my man"..and u can bet ur a*** HE WILL HAVE TO HEAR that story..before he will be able to touch me...cuz i wanna make sure he knows how scared i am might sound stupid for all the other ppl out there who havent been in such a situation..but i am pretty sure you know what i am talking about.
its this fear in your head...
everytime i feel a lil tweak inside down there i start thinking again!
i am pretty sure i had such tweaks before already..but i havent had a cancer prestage before!!!

and the worst email i received only a couple of days ago came from a guy who calls himself " a friend " and because i wasn't answering to some of his emails and told him before "i need some time for myself"..since i am still carrying this fear inside of me and i am trying to wake women up and TALK about it..i NEVER said i would have been soooo sick i was about to die..I AM NOT LYING about he wrote:
"its news to me that you where ever close to or possibly going to die. if your lil bastard as you call it, had been worse they would have just done a hysterectomy. ok then you couldnt have kids but life goes on. lots of women dont have kids these days, we cant always get what we want. i know this all to well. as far as cancer goes well lots of people get that, no biggie."



Anonymous said...

I spent quite some time reading your blog and I think you're great fighter! I wish you speedy recovery.

If you read my blog, I've mentioned about my youngest sister who is 35 years old. Doctors discovered that she has stomach cancer this year Feb and now it is only 9 Sep 08. Her condition is very very bad and she is suffering so much from all the treatments and she just can't eat, she vomited blood. I'm so sad. Doctors gave her only 1-2 more months. In this kind of circumstances, we can only pray that God give her the strength and courage to go through this super difficult trial, and whatever is the outcome, we've to accept that it is the best from God.

In God's prayer.

Wendy said...

Your feelings of guilt really resonated with me. I lost my mom to cancer (or chemotherapy side-effects rather) in October, almost exactly one year after my brother died. I know she felt a great deal of guilt for all we were suffering with her. Our lives are changed forever, but maybe not for the worst. I feel like a part of me was asleep when life was easy and now I am awake. I see the value of life and people I care about. I see the littleness in the big things and the bigness in the little things. I'm more compassionate and sensitive. My mom's cancer did change me and I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish that it never happened, but also that the change it brought into my life was overall a positive one that was too powerful to have happened any other way.

Everyone who loves you suffers with you, but maybe they're learning something valuable about life in the process.

Paula said...

Meaghan, thank you for these posts and for sharing your story. You're an amazing fighter and an inspiration. I'm so glad to have met you through Spirit Jump. What an amazing woman you are!!!!

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You are helping a lot of people getting this all out in the open.

Lisa said...

You are very right, the emotional scars are the worst sometimes because people expect when it's physically over, that you should just accept it and life go on as normal. I too am a survivor, Thank GOD, but emotionally its hard.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog from reading your post on a cervical cancer forum.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

Oops...your post was on a cervical cancer survivor page not forum!