Last Friday night, I had a meltdown.
I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried since being diagnosed with breast cancer, in late 2005.
I remember crying after my surgery.
And when my dog died.
And I probably cried when I found out about the metastasis but my memory of that time is clouded by shock, pain and the drugs used to numb it all.
Other than that, there have been a few teary moments but no honest-to-goodness meltdowns.
I was due.
It was a conversation with my spouse that set me off. It wasn't his fault. He merely expressed reservations about a proposed getaway.
Every insecurity I have ever felt about being loveable came to the surface, as well as the emotional toll of how cancer has changed my body.
I felt rejected.
And I dissolved into a sobbing, gasping puddle.
But really, I'd been primed for a meltdown for days.
I had had a very busy week, as I usually do on my weeks 'off' from chemo. By Thursday, when I went to see my physiotherapist, I was running on fumes. She made a casual comment about an aunt who had liver mets, and who'd had a wonderful active life, post-diagnosis. She added, "and she lived another eight or nine years."
I am not yet forty years old.
In eight years, my youngest son will only be twelve.
I will be lucky to live another eight years, and I will likely be in treatment right until the end.
She intended her words as a kindness but they hit me hard. I didn't respond or even dwell much on her comment but it stayed inside me. I was cranky with my naturopath and out of sorts for the next twenty-four hours.
Tension built, the clouds broke and then down came the rain.
Like all good summer storms, though, the air felt lighter after it ended. The sky was a little bluer this week and the sun shone brightly.
My step has been a little lighter, too, even with a chemo treatment.
And, can I say how lucky I am to live with a man who knows what to do in a meltdown, understands why they're necessary and never expects either apology or explanation?
He's even come around on the getaway plans.