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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-02-19 06:45
Subject: [personal|cancer] Stress, cancer and me
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, family, food, personal, writing
I slept over eight hours last night, and still woke up tired. Last week was a very tough week, combining business travel, the slow reveal of my new and ambiguous cancer status, and a Friday evening spent in the ER with a close family member. My schedule has been very off its norms, as have my eating habits. As a result, my weight has shot up again, which happens when I am eating from stress, eating out of the house, eating carelessly, and eating at odd times.

In broad terms, eating is my go-to compulsive behavior in response to stress, rather than drinking or otherwise acting out. This is probably the largest unresolved self-care issue in my life which is within my behavioral control — unlike, say, the cancer, of which I simply have to endure the vagaries.

There's been plenty of good stuff as well. Personal life is going well, writing life is going well, [info]the_child is doing well. But none of those things grant me more sleep or repair the gaping holes in my schedule or fully balance out the high stress stuff when it hits.

As for the cancer, I haven't had a meltdown over the new round of information. I think I've been too busy to do it. I keep expecting to hit some stumbling block and just lose my shit. Cancer does have that effect on me, especially around the time of diagnosis. On the other hand, being a cancer patient has pretty much evolved into my ground state. The human mind really can routinize almost anything.

In any case, I'm seeing both my medical oncologist and my liver surgeon this Wednesday, and that may be enough to trigger me.

The advantage of a meltdown, of course, is the massive release of the rolling boil of stress and fear and despair that cancer induces in me. If I don't find a way to let all that out, well, then I wind up doing things like eating too much. The disadvantage of a meltdown is, well, it's a meltdown. I act like I've lost my mind for a while, and I'm embarrassed later. And it's a tossup whether a meltdown is best performed alone or in trusted company. Not around [info]the_child, however. I am the dad, and while I am not afraid to show weakness, being human and all, losing my shit in front of her is just a bad idea.

So I wander tired, fat and cancer-riddled through my days, waiting for the emotional mugging I can see lurking in the shadows.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-02-19 19:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Kari xx
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User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-02-19 19:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Unfortunately I'm with you on the tired and fat road, for similar reasons. I've found xanax works very well for getting me real sleep, since it kills the stress for a while. Lorazapam didn't ever do much for me.
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User: amphigori
Date: 2012-02-19 20:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Firstly, I am beaming psychic support and encouragement your way. *wooga wooga noises*

Secondly, would it help you to "schedule" your meltdown if at all possible? Put on a movie that always makes you cry on a Friday evening, and hope that maybe the movie tears may trigger the real tears that you know need to come, at the time and place of your chosing? Then you can have the weekend to re-center yourself?

Dunno if it'd work, but it came to mind so I thought I'd mention it.
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User: alleypat
Date: 2012-02-19 21:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. I feel like I'm always looking over my shoulder for that big, black, deadly cancer that I hope is forever gone. Sometimes I catch myself making decisions that are "scared decisions." Like this weekend at condfw, when asked about my writing, I realized I've put myself in a circling pattern, going round and round with the excuse that as soon as I do something successful, cancer will sneak back into my life, and destroy what bit of "comfy/safe" zone I've created. I need to break that pattern, I know I do, but .... it's a struggle every day. Anyway, didn't mean to vent. But know how you feel, kinda.
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User: a_cubed
Date: 2012-02-20 01:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In my experience, and this is only anecdote, falling apart alone is a really bad idea. Having come through depression (I'm still prone to occasional brief episodes but not generally long term ones) I can say that being with someone when you're melting down make it nowhere near as deep or long or traumatic in itself. I don't know about you, but my self-image is of someone who copes with things and when I can't cope this very fact deepens things into a bad spiral. Having someone who cares with me at the time helps avoid this.
Best wishes.
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User: leela_cat
Date: 2012-02-20 05:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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Lizzy Blythe-Shannon
User: lizzyshannon
Date: 2012-02-20 10:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not so easy to 'perform' a meltdown; they usually just... happen. But if you have a choice, I'd say let it happen with trusted company. xxx
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User: shelly_rae
Date: 2012-02-27 01:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Chemo also shuts down your metabolism. It's not just emotional/stress eating that puts on pounds post chemo but your starved body says "must store fat for next crisis!" more exercise using different muscles? Cutting out every thing except vegetables & lean protein? There's not much out there on post chemo care. Good luck.
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