Sunday, September 4, 2016

Both And.

After almost a week of agonising, and trying to get second opinions (which proved to be impossible), I finally made the decision - I'm going to do chemo.

I immediately felt much better - I looked out the window and thought 'Oh wow, the sun's out and it's a beautiful day!'  I actually hadn't noticed until then.

So, I've made the decision, and I'm getting my first dose on Wednesday, 7 September.  I'm going to be having four lots of chemotherapy, about three weeks apart, if all goes well.  Nobody can tell me how I'll be afterwards - whether I'll be one of the lucky ones who sails through chemotherapy, only feeling a bit seedy for a few days; or whether I'll be one of the ones who is completely wiped out the whole time.  I'm obviously hoping for the first option!

So I've been trying to figure out how to keep all the plates of our family spinning, while having no idea how much help I'm going to need.  Which makes it a little tricky... there have been a few phone calls where I'm asking people if they can do such and such, if I need it.  And so far everyone has been very obliging!

One thing I do want to talk about is my positive attitude.

I do have a positive attitude, in that I'm doing my best to deal with whatever is thrown at me, the best that I can.  I'm doing #100happydays on Facebook, where I'm talking each day about the little or big things that make me happy.  And people seem to like that.

But the 'brave cancer fighter' label is a tricky one.  Because yes, I'm brave.  And yes, I'm fighting this.  And yes, I have a positive attitude.

But I am more stressed than I've been in years.  I cry a lot.  I'm still taking painkillers from my surgery 4.5weeks ago.  Little things like trying to decide what to wear, take a lot of emotional energy.  I often want to hide - to just be by myself - because my heart hurts about the way our lives have all changed.  We're having dinner conversations about the side effects of chemotherapy, and what I'll look like with no hair, and while that's good, and I'm glad we can talk about it with the kids, I HATE that my kids are having to think about this stuff, connected with their mum.  My head often feels like it's spinning, and I've learnt that deep breathing helps when my stomach hurts from stress.

This is what brave looks like too.

This is the other side of the 'positive attitude'.

If I was only ever upbeat and happy, that wouldn't be healthy.  And sometimes I worry that because I'm publicly focused on the positive, the other side of this might be forgotten.

The other side is, that this is one of the scariest times of my life; that it's so hard that my husband and I congratulate each other, every night, on making it through another day; that despite our reassurances, my kids are worried that I'm going to die; and that I really, really wish my biggest concern was that my seedlings were getting knocked over (like last year).

That's why this is titled 'Both And', rather than 'Either Or'.  Because life isn't one or the other, it's both at the same time.  That's what this is about - focusing on the positive, while still feeling scared.  Noticing the lovely, while wiping away tears.  Taking deep breaths to be calm for the kids, while knowing that the reason they're fighting so much is because they're scared too.

I see focusing on the positive as my act of defiance.  Regardless of the bad and scary and evil that is going on in the world, in my life and even in my own body, I WILL still see the good and beautiful and lovely in the world, and my life... and even my own body.

Both and. I acknowledge the dark is there, but I choose to focus on the light.

1 comment:

  1. SPOT ON. Yes, all of this is being brave. You are taking this journey well -- but oh, how I wish you didn't have this particular route to follow. I find journey imagery more helpful for dealing with cancer (or other serious illness). The battle stuff is wearying and really inaccurate. Yes, in many ways you have the heart of a warrior. But you are YOU, no matter what. And cancer cannot change that -- cancer cannot 'win' in any ultimate sense. Does that make any sense at all? Thinking about you and praying for you as you step out into the lane for this stretch of the race.