Many years ago, I was to meet my husband at his work and then his co-worker, Dwight would take us to the airport. I think this was actually the trip we took to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was a big deal.

I left plenty of time to drive there and because it was before the era of electronic devices, I got detailed driving directions to John’s work. You see, I get lost really easily when I drive. GPS technology changed my life. But we didn’t have it back then. We also didn’t have cell phones.

So I drove from Chapel Hill to the Research Triangle Park in NC. I got utterly and hopelessly lost when I was very close to John’s workplace.  By the time I got there, I was really late, and it was going to take a miracle for us to get to the airport on time. I hold my breath and tried my best to keep it together until Dwight got us to the airport. He drove us up to the passenger drop off site and we ran into the airport.

It was at this time that we discovered that we were not late at all. Our flight had been delayed.

You’d think I’d say, “hooray!” Instead, I folded myself into my husband’s arms and balled my eyes out.  All of the responsibility and stress I’d felt about missing our flight, missing our chance to spend time in the tropics, flooded over me.

The memory of this event popped into my brain today. A friend from the breast cancer community was feeling incredibly anxious. She didn’t understand why. She had just gotten positive on her last MRI even though she’d expected the worst. I told her that this kind of falling apart happens. “Really?”, she asked. “Nobody talks about it.”

Hmm, she may have a point there. I actually MEANT to write about this myself. I don’t think I ever did.

I don’t think this process applies to everyone but it certainly does to me. I get most stressed in anticipation of stress, deal well with the stress itself, and then fall apart at least a little after I get to breathe again. Emergency mode doesn’t allow for reflection. It’s just decision, decision, decision, action, action, action. Then when the crisis has past, there is exhaustion and also reflection on what could have been.

I am feeling a bit of this today. I was triggered by my husband expressing a lack of happiness with my stress level. I didn’t do anything awful, I was just acting on edge along the lines of, “Are you sure you turned the stove off?” You know, the anxious questions. He told me that he didn’t like it. He wasn’t unreasonable about it except that I thought he could have given me a pass because of my anxiety about the scan. I told him this and then I also shared with him my distress that he tells people that I am “cured” and that I have “a clean bill of health”. I reminded him that the best I can be is “no evidence of disease.” This was not a conversation I have previously had with him though he reads this blog faithfully. I hadn’t talked to him about it because I thought he needed to think these things to function. But today, after being mildly rebuked and having had to remind him of the scans a couple of times, I felt the need to wake him up to my reality. Maybe it was a good idea. Maybe it was not. I don’t know.

What I do know is that cancer is damned stressful, having it, maybe having it, maybe getting it again, etc. I also know that it is stressful for my family.

As I write this, I realize that I don’t know how to end this post. But I guess that’s fitting. This process will be never ending.

If I’m lucky.