Having lived through breast cancer, and having come out the other side all well and healthy, I still feel that I am in a state of limbo most of the time.
I found a this definition for limbo in the online thesaurus:
“limbo “region supposed to exist on the border of Hell” reserved for pre-Christian saints (Limbus patrum) and unbaptized infants (Limbus infantum);” c.1300, from L. (in) limbo “(on) the edge,” abl. of limbus “edge, border” (see limb (2)). Figurative sense of “condition of neglect or oblivion” is from 1642.”
Whilst the definition “region supposed to exist on the border of Hell” might be a bit over exaggerated, the definition “on the edge” pretty much describes what it feels like now that I am through with the active treatment. I feel that I am now living on the edge, as the certainty that I believed I had before I had breast cancer, the certainty that everything was ok and would be ok for the foreseeable future, has gone. It has been replaced by an uncertainty that whilst I am ok today, I do not know whether I will be ok tomorrow or the day after. You may think now, nobody knows whether they will be ok tomorrow…true, but most people do not think like that. Most people live in what I like to call “lala kuku land” the land of blissful ignorance!
If you are like me, someone who likes to have control over your life, living in limbo, on the edge, not knowing what will happen tomorrow, can be quite stressful, as you suddenly realise that life really is finite and moreover is very difficult to control. Again, you might say everyone knows that…. But really do most people really know that. Most people at the age of 32 think they are invincible; cancer, death is what happens to others, to old people. Dying, especially, is something that old people do. Moreover they very much believe that they are in control of their destiny.
What to do then when you are living in limbo? Hide away in the corner like a quivering wreck?
Until 2 months ago that is what I did! Stupid of me you might say, wasting your life instead of packing cancer by the horns and living your life despite this shitty diagnosis. Hmmm…stupid it might have been, but to be honest, I would like to see how you cope with the situation, then we can talk again.
Today, I do most of the time pack cancer by the horns and say, I will enjoy living in the now. I am trying to find some constants in my life which will create a bit of stability, so that instead of living on the edge and nearly falling over it, I have crutches which can hold me up.
One of these “crutches” is running, and training for my Berlin Half Marathon in March 2014. I have again found a purpose, something to look forward too, and something that gives my life a focus. It is not only the fact that I now have to train 3-5 times a week, but also because people have sponsored my run in aid of the amazing charity CoppaFeel!. This run, me exerting myself for this amazing charity has given me something where I can put my own little personal stamp on, and say: Look I did this, I ran 22 km and raised x amount of money!
So whilst my life still is in limbo, I am not fighting it, I am learning to go with the flow- but not without putting some constants into my life ;-).