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Why I Expect So Much From Myself While Recovering From Cancer a Second Time

There was a time after cancer number one that I was going to counseling, and the counselor mentioned it was common for other people to think that once your hair grew back and the cancer wasn’t obvious that everything was fine. At the time, I was glad I wasn’t alone in my experience. But I was also bothered that people really felt that way. It’s not easy to get over any difficult life experience and to me, cancer falls into that bucket.

But now I’m recovering for a second time and I am doing my absolute best to downplay it. It’s not hard, I can handle it. I can take care of a baby, dog, house, work part-time from home and recover. Yeah, sure. I mean it’s been almost five months since transplant, how much time does a person need?! I could balance before, I should be able to balance now. Please know, I’m not saying that anyone else is expecting this about me, but it’s how I feel.

I think it’s common that when we go through things, we want to move forward. The quickest way to do that is to go back to doing the things we were doing before: go back to the exercise program, the work schedule, the social responsibilities, the things that we use to define ourselves and in some cases our worth. It’s why I feel like I need to keep taking on more things, because that’s what makes me a valuable member of society. It’s what people expect and I want people to be able to count on me.

I can’t be the only person who feels this way.

We’re so incredibly tough on ourselves. We think we should be able to do it all. Even when we’re tired. Even when we’re recovering. Even when we’re struggling.

The truth is, I wouldn’t expect it of anyone else. But I’m not anyone else’s worst critic, I am my own. A role we seem to willing fill in so many instances. We often don’t want to admit our struggles, because it shows weakness. However, the whole point of this blog is to be honest, to be vulnerable, to let you know that you are not alone.

So, here it is. This is hard. Heck, being a human is hard on a normal day, but balancing baby, recovery, activity, home and work is tough. I’m tired.

Typing those statements didn’t make me any weaker. If anything, they made me stronger. I think admitting our struggles always makes us stronger because it allows us to face them, rather then to just keep pushing. Trust me, I still keep pushing. But I also know when I need to rest. Well, sometimes…I’m getting better at it. I promise.

A version of this story originally appeared

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