This is my cancer journey. A no holds barred, raw and raucous portrait of my search for enlightenment while I journal my way through cancer treatment. If you want an honest depiction of the ugly truths along with the lighter side of cancer treatment, then I welcome you to join me on my journey!
June 23, 2013
It's 4:05 AM and I've been awake since 2:15 AM. Just when I think three consecutive days of sleep have got me caught up, the overwhelming drowsiness hits me upside the head again. Usually it happens when I'm ready to do something like write in my journal. Regardless, I sit here, green tea in hand, chemo cat by my side, my man snoring heavily in the next room and I'm determined to get some thoughts out on virtual paper. Strange as it seems, this is my moment of serenity.
I've had a lot of rough moments this week. I've been too weak to do anything but saunter back and forth from bed to bathroom to kitchen. The roller coaster of emotions that go hand in hand is exhausting… DOWN, the self pity … UP, the eager hopefulness … DOWN, the longing for the end that seems so far away. Obviously, emotions are closely tied to my physical state. Try as I might, it is a challenge to think of blessings when you're body is continually being raped by poison. Yet blessings keep popping up all around me, like little dandelions, all bright and cheery yellow. I told myself I was going to make a list of cancer blessings to help remind me of all the good when I'm feeling low. Now is as good of a time as any to get that list started.
My flower, the lotus. My symbol of serenity, strength & hope.
Mind you, these are NOT in order of importance, just some extemporaneous thoughts bursting out of my skull as I sit her sipping green tea. :-)
- Time to Think. Yes, this is the biggie. I've been forced to a screeching halt. Even though this gal's over analytical, high speed brain runs 24-7, chemo has tamped down my ability to think quickly (chemo brain is the technical term) which makes my thoughts more methodical, deliberate and not always accurate. At times my thinking is less than positive, but given the circumstances, it hard no to go down that road. I'm working on improving my positive thinking each day.
- Simple Pleasures. Sipping green tea, my cats purr, my lover's kiss, the soft creaky, croaky tree frog serenade outside my window, the smell of fresh cut mango, a note from a dear friend, a hug from my child, a cool breeze, savory dark chocolate, a soft rain tapping on the roof, a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, the ocean waves on my toes, a morning dove's repetitive coo, a cool glass of white wine (that I so dearly miss!), the humid air softly coating my skin, the lushness & vibrant colors in my healing garden … the list seems endless.
- Love. Ah, love … another biggie. Dare I say cancer has shown me love? I believe it has. Several months ago, a former co-worker from Minneapolis allegedly committed suicide. I vividly recall reading the online condolences and thinking out loud, "Did she know she was this loved!?" Personally I don't believe she did. Now that I'm in my little cancer predicament, I personally get to witness and feel such an outpouring of love from so many people. Some expected and some unexpected, but all genuinely gracious. I admit, it is a big, heady rush. My mind has been blown many a time by people's generosity, support and their sheer desire for me to fight this demon head on. I feel loved, but more so, I feel tremendously humbled that I am surrounded by people who love me. Outside of my inner circle, I never thought little ol' me could have any kind of impact on another person's life but based on the love I'm receiving from so many friends, I clearly have. Don't take this wrong, but if I were to die today, I'd die knowing that I was loved. And that is the greatest gift of all.
- Prioritizing. I believe any life altering event is how most people come about prioritizing what is important in life. Losing both parents, challenges of raising a child with Asperger's & ADHD, a failed marriage that lead to financial hardship, jobs that I've poured my creative heart into, have all taught me an important lesson. I needed to lose to gain. It's true what 'they say'… every loss has brought me something better. What I now believe is important has changed drastically from what I use to believe a few years ago. Sure the standards are unchanged, like my unconditional love for Greg & my kids and their well being - those have always been the most important. But I no longer yearn for those material things that I once thought would bring me happiness. I yearn for experiences. I yearn to embrace life full on with reckless abandon, not sure if that is even possible, but I'm gonna give it a shot!
- Spirituality. This goes hand and hand with love. There is a strong spiritual energy that comes from the outpouring of love that I have received. It is a HUGE blessing that I like to call Spirit Fuel. That Spirit Fuel has lifted me at the times I've needed it the most. When I'm at my lowest physically and don't feel I can continue, I magically get a shot of that Spirit Fuel from someone and my faith and belief in fighting through this cancer is renewed. And if I could get all Long Island Medium on you for a moment, I do feel the spiritual presence of my deceased father, mother and grandmother, as well as my dear friend Judi, who passed from colorectal cancer in 2008. I sense them surrounding me with loving energy to help me through this process, another loving gift.
- Reflection. You may think this is the same as 'Time to Think', but you'd be wrong. Reflection for me is a spiritual retrospective. Reflecting on my past has allowed me to bring my future into focus. It has humbled me. It has shown me regret. It has inspired me. And it has made me proud of what I've done.
It's now 6:20 AM. I hear the birds calling me to the back porch, saying to come and enjoy a coffee and croissant with us …. another blessing I shall partake in.