The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

Emotional scars


Yeah, so, I have scars from having breast cancer.

I’m not talking about the obvious scars such as the mastectomy scar on my left breast or the scar in my left armpit where they removed a sentinel node for biopsy.

I’m talking about emotional scars, and I am constantly discovering new ones.

Being a breast cancer survivor has made me mushy. I tell people I love them all the time. I’m a hugger now. Sure, I can still being a snarky bitch, but, in general, breast cancer has made me soft.

Also, everything makes me cry. Sad songs, sad commercials, someone else crying whether they are near me or on TV or in a movie make me cry, too.

The most recent scar I’ve discovered is that any little thing that is different about my body makes me think I have cancer again. Of course, it doesn’t help that every symptom you Google will tell you that you might have some sort of cancer.

“Stomach ache could be a symptom of stomach cancer.”

Seriously, if I feel nauseous or my head aches or my period is heavy (TMI, sorry), I worry that I have cancer. It doesn’t matter that the doctor just gave me a clean bill of health last month. That was last month. This month, I’m pretty sure this headache means I have brain cancer.

Actually, I know that’s not true. It’s either a side effect of the tamoxifen that the docs put me on, or it’s the side effects of going off of the tamoxifen the docs put me on. The nausea is just nausea. The headache is just a headache. The heavy period, well, that’s just a side effect of being a woman … and the tamoxifen. Thanks, tamoxifen.

Today I am wondering, will I always be this way or will time heal my emotional scars, too?


Author: The Sonia Show

I'm a writer/podcaster/mother/goober in San Francisco who likes to drink beer, shop, laugh and make other people laugh, watch old movies, feed my unhealthy obsession with pop culture, kick breast cancer's ass, go on adventures with my mighty, mighty good man David and my awesome autistic son, Calvin, wear orange and root for the San Francisco Giants, participate in general jackass-ery, talk about TV, eavesdrop on strangers' conversations, make nerdy “Star Wars” and “Simpsons” references, and post personal things about myself on the web for all to read, which makes me some sort of literary exhibitionist.

13 thoughts on “Emotional scars

  1. Not sure if you will ever get over the emotional scars…we all carry some kind of baggage some days are better than others. I wish i could tell you that it was all going to get better as you get older but i’m thinking not… hopefully you will have more good emotions to cover all the bad ones and that would be a good thing! Love Mom

  2. I don’t think you’ll always be this way. What you went through is very traumatic, and it’s to be expected that it’s going to take time for you not feel so fearful all the time. That said, this is a life changing experience, which means feeling back to “normal” will have to take on an entirely new meaning. I haven’t had to go through what you’ve gone through, but having lost so many of my loved ones to cancer, I know I share a similar paranoia in that I’m going to continue to lose everyone I love so dearly. It’s been nine years since my father passed away, and I think I’ve finally turned a corner where I feel more confident that the world is not out to get me and I won’t lose everyone around me. But it’s taken me close to a decade to get there. I hope it doesn’t take you as long to heal your scars as it has for me, but sometimes scars can be a really beautiful thing that we wear like badges of honor that we hold up to the forces we can’t control and say, see, I made it. And I’ll continue to make it.

    Much love! You can cry on me anytime (and I’ll totally judge you for it — I promise).

    • I have no doubt that you would judge me for crying, Tiff: “Stop crying. It makes you look fat.”

      Seriously, I appreciate you commenting, Tiff. And just so you know, I’m not going anywhere. Lucky you!

  3. Time will heal these wounds, too. You might never be the same, but you’ll still be awesome.

  4. You’re fucked. I hope David likes hypochondriacs.

  5. First of all I’m on an lolercoaster about “Stop crying. It makes you look fat.” I can’t wait for somebody to cry in front of me so I can use that.

    O HAI I’m an asshole.

    Okay, here’s my real answer: my mom and her sisters experienced the same thing for a few years after they recovered. I think it’s like a subconscious coping mechanism. You’re human. And despite your best attempts at being a beautiful and unique snowflake, millions of years of evolution and survival instincts are built into you that you have no choice but to obey. So the cancer-colored glasses are like your brain’s way of trying to make sure you don’t get sick again. Right? But what do I know.

    • Marie, I need to share with you all the eating disorder jokes that Tiff and I just love to make.

      As for the “real” stuff, I think you are exactly right. I caught the breast cancer myself. I found the lump. I think, subconsciously, I’m just making sure that if something is going on, I know it.

  6. Oh my………Can I ever relate. Ever since my dad first got cancer some 30 years ago and more recently, we as a family became even more solid. We’ve always been affectionate and mushy, but a sense of poignancy came over our relations to one another. We now make SURE we know how the other feels, tell each other out loud that we love them. Wish we, and you didn’t have this impetus, but sometimes out of deep sorrow comes a sense of importance and value that we didn’t previously attach to day to day life. Hold on to one another tight and don’t let go.

  7. I know the life of emotional scars. In the absence of knowledge to solve certain problems, then I find praise or compliments to be like little pieces of Dove chocolate, and hugs are like the bubble bath of joy.

    I believe in God, and I know he loves me because my friends are the most exciting people I’ve ever known. But I do not to practice my religion, because so many that do are just thoughtless and cruel to others. I can’t seem to love God for more than 2 seconds without getting offended by almost anyone in the room, so I still have a lot to learn in life.

    My stupid answer for you is your love. I know that sometimes the pain is stronger, but your laughter after the headache or your giddy bliss after the pain is something I want to pass on to anyone who is taking their first steps into the cancer experience. My Mom has let herself sleep as much as possible during her journey, and as someone who works graveyard then I can say that trying to feel relaxed all day long ain’t too bad of a life.

    One of my earliest teenage crushes and a true friend in Christ lost her life to lung cancer after it seemed she had been healed. I know many other people who have passed, but somehow my beautiful friend Susan has never left me. She is a constant reminder that my faith offers comfort and always forgives, and she’s also my proof that loving others is real and the laughter never stops. None of this cures cancer, but that’s all I got.

    Sorry to waste your time. If I had half a brain then I would still be married, because fighting with my wife everyday still is the best life I’ve ever known. I celebrate what you have today and I hope it comforts you when there are no answers to life’s crap.

  8. I have these stupid ones where I’m all, “I WISH I COULD WEAR THAT CLINGY SWEATERDRESS” and I get all teary because I can not wear a clingy sweaterdress, or a bikini, or anything like that ever again. Stupid body triggers!

  9. Pingback: I still don’t have cancer, you guys | The Sonia Show

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