Sunday, September 12, 2021

Trauma Had Overcome Me

For the longest time, I have shoved my feelings, my pain, and my hurt to the deepest recesses of my soul. I stopped blogging because I couldn't fathom being vulnerable anymore. My own mental state was too raw, it had become too fragile, frail, even. 

I would find myself unable to respond to beautiful texts and emails, I physically couldn't budge to lift a finger to type. That doesn't mean that those words, those messages didn't haunt my psyche. I hated myself for feeling paralyzed. I hated that I would panic about my inablilty to respond to so many special, kind, loving souls that just wanted to show me love, but I was trapped in my own suffering. And one day, became the next day, which became months, then what has almost become a year, yet nothing had changed. I couldn't bring myself to respond to any of them. The trauma had overcome me, my pain was a blackness and I couldn't find even a sliver of light.

I have been sheltering myself from the trauma that I have refused to acknowledge, or feel. My coping mechanism has been to put one foot in front of the other and walk, and clean, and cook, and listen to podcasts and organize, and avoid all of my painful memories. I felt like there was no good way to address the magnitude of the 11 years of fear, stress, the bone saws that split my skull so many times, the pain in my skull that never subsides, the struggles to walk without injuring myself, that I can't see out of the side of one eye, or the numbness of my full right side, the raw ache of constant loss. Or my pathetic attempts of holding a pen, or a fork, or cut with a knife, or spell, or find words up in this messy brain. I try to hide my deficits from others because I'm embarrassed and frustrated. But it's always there, traveling everywhere I go, there is no escape, no reprieve. 

The best (cancer) friends I have bonded with, laughed with, fell in love with their strength, their brilliance, only to watch their bodies wither, holding space for the conversations about their imminent  death, the devastation of the loss of their dreams, to watch them struggle to breathe until they die. To watch my ultimate cancer soulmate have her brain get riddled with 10 brain tumors after 11 years of metastatic cancer, the pain, the fear, the defeat. The struggle to find anything that could help, until her body just couldn't function any longer. Then she was just gone. There was nothing I could do. With all of these friends, they just die and I'm left devastated, crushed and often despondent. There is so much anguish, such a loss of camaraderie, of knowingness. With all of their deaths I find myself even further isolated, which pulls me deeper into my mental lair, where I can tuck away my feelings and pretend that I'm not broken. I put on a smile, I become more vague, I brush over any hurt, and then I deflect.  

These 11 years have been a marathon of loss, and I have avoided dealing with the majority of that pain because it doesn't feel good to be sad. I prefer to pivot in uncomfortable situations, to find the good, to put things in a perspective that makes me feel positive, but there has been so much death around me, of best friends, that I stopped being able to find the good. So I shut down and went to the most basic survival mode I could think of. One foot in front of the other. Don't think too deeply. Deflect questions. Downplay my struggles. Hide my pain. Ask people more about them so that I don't have to be vulnerable. Smile. Laugh. 

It worked for several months, maybe even a year or so, but the deep pain has never gone away. In fact, it has just festered, and then I ended up feeling even more isolated because I have a real hard time asking for help, or admitting that I'm struggling. I hate to bring people down, I would rather lift them up, to make them laugh, or bake a loaf of bread for a friend, or lend an ear for what they're going through. But what I've come to realize is that the blog was this beautiful place to express myself, with zero pressure for people to read it. People can read it if they choose, but unlike initiating a conversation with a friend who may or may not be able to support my emotional needs at that time - because face it, we all have a lot of shit going on - perhaps it's time for me to get back to sharing my life for those interested in following along.

It's scary to come back here, to share my deepest, most vulnerable thoughts, the reality of what's going on with my tumor and my treatments, but I am hoping that this can be what it once was, a gift of connection with others. And a place for my raw uncensored private thoughts, and the nuances of my cancer life.

I can't say when I'll be able to respond to any messages, or comments, I really don't want to backtrack into anxiety or fear, I want to work toward a healthy relationship with openness. Thank you for all of the patience and graciousness over this quiet time. I am truly blessed with your love and kindness. The fact that anyone even cares to see how I'm doing is a beautiful gift. Thank you. I will read every comment, even if I don't respond. xo


 

34 comments:

  1. I pray that you feel peace and love always. I pray that God heals you in and out. You are a beautiful soul, enjoy this life, it’s truly a gift ❤️

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    1. Your words are beautiful and I agree 100%. I haven’t heard how Jess is doing… I only learned of her today and I’ve been busy reading as much as I can. What a beautiful woman. Praying 🙏 💛

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  2. I’ve always felt a connection with you and your words. I guess part of it could be the documentary. Your words are simply you though, and there is something special about that. I think that it also has to do with the fact that we run in some of the same circles in little old Edmonds. Being true to ourselves is the best thing we can do. Being able to access our feelings can lead to so much freedom. At least, that’s what I’ve been learning in therapy. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings again. Thank you for letting us in. We’re here for you in whatever capacity that ends up being.

    💜💜💜

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  3. So lovely to hear from you, to just see your heart. ♥️ Thank you for opening again. You are always in our thoughts. -Nicole and Moose

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  4. Gosh I am so happy you are coming back to share your beautiful self with us. In the past year I have checked your blog often for any new posts. I so look forward hearing what you have been up to. 🍀 Patty

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  5. It brings me so much happiness to hear from you again! I have followed your blog from the very first one! And I so enjoyed the long phone call that we had together so long ago! You don't have to prove anything to any one! Just continue to be your sweet, loving self and continue to let us love and pray for you!!! Much Love, "So Cal" Patti ~

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  6. I am so happy to hear from you, I hope to hear more of your heart, it truly is so beautiful.

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  7. So happy to see you writing again, you are such a beautiful soul and I am deeply touched by your story. You are always in my thoughts and prayers xx

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  8. Such a beautiful woman you are. You have a way of expressing yourself with the written word that carries your reader vividly along with your story line. Because you choose to share yourself, and do so so eloquently we are able to laugh with you, cry with you, ponder with you. Keep it up. You are much loved

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  9. I also am very glad that you feel the need and strength to continue opening up your beautiful soul for others to try and understand..An old saying I remember is Truth will set you free BUT first it will piss you off. Besides healing your body AND soul I hope you can enjoy laughter...

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  10. I love you and miss you my friend!

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  11. Much love to you. You don't owe anyone a response, we think of you and support you always and you do not need to say anything for us to do that. I haven't really been there for you, but know I am here. I still count you a friend. A better friend than many.

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  12. Dear wonderful Jess, I am so sorry that you’ve been going through all this pain for so long. I feel relieved to read about you and connect in this way. Yes, I’m interested and I care. ~Maureen R.

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  13. Hi Girl, I totally understand how you feel, there are few of us that can, the survivors. I also have watched friends succumb to this horrible disease. It never gets as my easier. I am almost 10 years out and I have no plans on doing anything other than surviving, so I will always be here for you to talk to as ND vent to. I would actually love it. I have no one to talk to either. Call, text or email me. Love Katie 310 925-2245

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  14. So so happy, honored and thankful you are sharing your words with us again. Sending you lots of love and peace.

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  15. Yay! Yay! Yay! I’m so excited to see you back here blogging. Don’t worry about us, we’re here as spectators that I hope will be able to support you in whatever way you need. And if at any time it becomes too much that’s fair too. Just know that I think of you often and wonder how you’re doing. So happy to see your smiling face.

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  16. Thank you for sharing and the courage you display in being vunerable. Jessica you are amazing and inspire many in the battle. Know that prayers and that you are loved by a Heavenly Father makes a difference. Blessings on you and your journey.

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  17. I keep your blog linked in my blogroll as a mental reminder to always keep you in our thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

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  18. Whether you post or not you'll always be a huge inspiration!

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  19. Much love to you in your journey. Blessings in your sharing (or not) as much as you want to process your emotions.

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  20. Hi Jessica, I saw your story and it resonated with me. I am going through treatment for triple negative breast cancer myself but lost my brother to brain cancer 11 years ago. My husband did tons of research because of the aggressiveness of my cancer and he found Seacare. It has helped me immensely with my chemo treatments and my blood work has looked great. I just wanted to let you know to do some research because I wish it was around when my brother was alive. My chemo doctor did research it after my blood work was so great and she said she was going to recommend it to all her patients the downfall of course is it is not covered by insurance but their are always fund raisers to help with that. I wish you nothing but the best in this fight. Mari

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  21. Hope all is well with you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many and know that so many people care about you! Xoxo

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  22. Praying for peace for you....peace and love <3 Thank you for your words - they are everything.

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  23. February 20 2022 Hi Jessica, Just heard your story on Hulu I think it was. I am so thankful you are still alive,although the mental anguish of all your going through sucks. So thankful you have Dan and Dan has you. Just want you to know now that I "know you" and your circumstance I am praying for you in the future.

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  30. What a joy to see you posting again. You were wise to take the time you needed for YOU. We have all missed you, prayed for you and always kept you and Dan in our prayers each and every day. You are such a beautiful soul and I wish you all the happiness you so richly deserve. God Bless.

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