THE NEW NORMAL (New Life, New Me)

THE NEW NORMAL (New Life, New Me)

It touched me, my chest.

I am on the ground. “How did I get here?”

I look down and I see there is a stain where it touched me. It’s spreading. The black stain is spreading across my chest, up my neck.

“No, No, NO! Get it off me!”

I start pulling at my clothes frantically, but it’s no use. It keeps spreading until it consumes me.

“Help me!” I scream.

But nothing happens.

What’s the use anyway? It’s spread all over now.

I’m going to die from this.

 

I jerk awake still clutching my chest, careful not to rip my skin open at the surgical site that has just started healing.

This is five weeks after my mastectomy and two weeks after my first chemo. And I was losing my mind.

The mind is a beautiful thing; the subconscious is even more beautiful and mysterious because you don’t know what is stored up in there until it rears its ugly head. What is stored in my own subconscious is that my cancer is spreading and that there is nothing chemotherapy, prayers or positive thinking is going to do to make a difference.

In my waking moments, I’m the pillar of strength for my family, a strong person in their eyes. My sister would say, “Gosh, you’re so brave. My mother would say, “You give me strength.” My friends would say, “Wow, you’re strong o…”

Then there’s the obligatory morale-booster: “Don’t worry, you’ll beat this. After treatment, everything will be back to normal.”

I believed this. In fact, it was a driving force at the beginning of my journey. Further down the line, I soon realised that that was naïve of us to think so. We watch these movies that sugar-coat what it really is to survive these traumatic experiences, and we get it into our heads that it’s fine and dandy after treatment, after the “worst is over”.

Sadly, as I have learnt, it never is. It is a whole new normal, a whole new you that you have to navigate life through and hope you don’t mess things up.

Modd BC (Before Cancer) was a happy-go-lucky, epitome of good health. Heck, I hadn’t had malaria in over five years. Even my asthma had eased up with very few triggers. I was a gym rat and worked my ass off to get my ripped abs. I brimmed with confidence, wit and humour that made me instantly likable. I had left my job as an architect to go find myself, and had just started a business born out of my passion for art. Invested over N300, 000 in the business to test it out and hoped to expand in a few years. I was single, but not lonely. Life wasn’t perfect, but it was planned out and I saw big things in my future.

Then in July 2019, two months after I opened shop, I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. Within a few weeks, it had progressed to Stage 3. Nine months of treatment – which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy – and I don’t even recognise who I am anymore.

Modd AD (After Diagnoses) has panic attacks, mood swings, PTSD, body image issues, self-image issues and health issues as a result of my cancer treatment. I’m still witty and funny, but that has become one of the things I use to cover up my other issues. I had to make some tough decisions about my business and had to shut it down because of my health and mental issues following treatment.

It sucks, but I’m determined to move forward with life as best as I can. It will be hard and it will be brutal, but I will plough through because I’m worth it and I deserve contentment.

I reached out to Pinky that I wanted to start an open diary about getting my shit together. So this is the first post in this diary series. I hear it will be therapeutic to write it all down – asides the fact that I’m making it an “open” diary because I want it to give me a sense of accountability in this journey of working on my goals. I was thinking of making it weekly but I realize that my life is not exactly eventful; heck, I’m no Kardashian, so it will be fortnightly.

So here it is: my new normal, my journey to discovering a new life and a new me.

Written by Modd

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14 Comments

  1. Black Dynasty
    July 27, 08:00 Reply

    Thank you being vulnerable enough to share your story with us.

    I’ve had to watch family, friends/their family go through the same journey you are on and it really does mess up your mind, even for those who recover fully physically.

    On the plus side, most find their way back mentally and I hope and pray you are able to get there eventually.

    Do permit me to suggest that therapy from a trained psychologist could be of great help.

  2. Mitch
    July 27, 08:06 Reply

    Modd, you are an amazing person.
    Truth be told, traumatic experiences like this have a way of reorienting us, of making us reevaluate our lives, of making us want completely different things from what we were used to.

    This feeling is valid.
    And scary as fuck.

    But, one thing I’ve learnt in the past 3 years is that surfing the waves life throws at us and enjoying the ride is the best way to not get overwhelmed. It’s not the easiest, but it’s the best and safest thing to do.

    And I know this would sound very airily placatory, but I’d feel very indicted if I fail to pass the love and unconditional support I got during my own journey with a health challenge to someone who needs it.

    You’re strong. You’re powerful.
    You’d get through this.
    And you’d bounce back stronger.

    I’m rooting for you.

  3. Tobee
    July 27, 08:26 Reply

    Well done, and thank you for sharing this. I look forward to hearing how things go. Take care.

  4. Jay
    July 27, 08:57 Reply

    Wow… Modd. I can only say that you are a strong person with an amazing personality. Despite it all, you still manage to put on a positive outlook. I’m sending e-hugs your way right now. I will recommend you find videos by Louise Hay on Youtube. Spend time to watch all her videos over and over again. It will help you all the way. I stan with you.

  5. Delle
    July 27, 16:47 Reply

    Wow Mode. Just know it that you’re being rooted for. And victory waits.

    Anticipating the series and hopefully, it ends on a positive note 💕

  6. Net
    July 27, 18:42 Reply

    Thanks for sharing with us, looking forward to more posts from you.

  7. OB
    July 27, 20:34 Reply

    I don’t know how this feels, Modd, but all I can tell you is this; Choose to be happy, Modd… Happiness is a choice… Try to find happiness in small things, and you’ll certainly adjust to a steady rhythm in your new normal…

  8. Anoni
    July 28, 00:29 Reply

    You’ll win this modd💪🏽
    I love you.

  9. Rudy
    July 28, 00:35 Reply

    I love, love, love this Modd!

    We’re all cheering for you from this side of the bleachers.
    I have a friend who is going through the same thing as you at the moment and I’d advice him to pour out his emotions, frustrations and experiences in a diary just as you are doing.

    You’re an inspiration and I can’t say much but just know that you’ve got a whole stadium of audience and well wishers from within the community who cannot wait to hear your story of courage and endurance.

    Even this shall pass Mod.

  10. Emerald
    July 28, 00:46 Reply

    That you are choosing to fight, choosing life, is a stupendous effort of will that I’m sure you reached deep to fetch. It is ballsy and I applaud your strength.

    Looking forward to the unfolding stories.

    Keep that fire of hope burning.

    P.S. If you ever need someone to talk to, please reach out. closetednigeriangirl@gmail.com

  11. Shuga chocolata
    July 28, 22:25 Reply

    I love you modd,
    Have had my own experience from a cancer patient and I must say, it’s not easy, but it will certainly get better.

    I’m cheering for you on from this end.

    I love you already 😘💕😘♥️💕💕💕💕

  12. Pie
    July 29, 00:51 Reply

    It shall not be your burden. This too shall pass.

  13. Saucebutton
    July 29, 07:30 Reply

    I love who you are and want to be. For the fact that you remind me of reasons to care and love. Thank you

  14. Frillz
    July 30, 18:54 Reply

    Lots of love dearie 💞💞💕

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