A good reminder that all of our actions start with inside reflection, that direction we get to choose. I am working on looking inward to how do I want to show up in the world. What do I choose to do that reflects my inner values. Where am I learning and growing so that I can be the person I want to be as cancer continues it’s influence on our lives.
I have been reading and exploring my own ideas and thoughts on death and dying in an attempt to find a peaceful path for accepting death. There is the intellectual concept of life as a journey with death as a natural ending. It is harder for me to accept or consider the death of a loved one on an emotional level. I find this article by Mark Ptistick, MA, DC helpful. The following is taken from his work- credit link given below if you want to read more.
“Do not believe that you are a helpless victim of a cruel fate
Good evidence exists that you, as a soul, volunteered to experience this scenario, to be there for your loved one as he or she transitioned from this world. Think about it . . . of the seven billion or so people on this planet, what are the chances that you and your loved one ended up together by chance? God is not asleep at the wheel even though it may seem like it sometimes. You have everything you need to get through this tough time and demonstrate what enlightened grieving looks like.” Mark Pitstick
To love and to be loved is a deeply satisfying experience. No one promised that it would be all fun with no tough times. I am grounded by that thought. To be all in for love to me means that you are there for the whole experience.
My goal is to allow my emotions to be felt: feel them as waves, but not get knocked down and out by them. I want to be present for all the time we have together.
Getting better at not expecting how much time we have, just staying with how to enjoy today.
Just stop doing the complicated things.
Ask for help
Make a phone call
Give up on getting things perfect or even right some days.
Give away responsibility to others
All of this is good advice, I give it to others. Yet it seems everything has more than one step. I have not been good at accepting that one step counts and if that is all you can do today, so be it. I like to see things completed. When I get frustrated with small tasks, I know that I need to simplify. I am clearing off my obligations so I have fewer decision to make on a daily basis.
Living with cancer in the house has helped me pay attention to how I want to spend my time. I am taking big steps to simplify how I need to spend my time this summer. What I really want is just to have a summer with Lee, no doctors, no hospitals, no treatments.
Live, pay attention to love, life and happiness.
Numb is the only way to describe the feeling when the CT scan check up shows suspicious spots in a brand new area that require a biopsy. Technically that means that you now have upgraded to metastasis cancer by new cells migrating to a new area of the body. Practically it means your world just got upended again. Is it any easier that this is the second big bad news for us? No. We both know the process ahead is unknown and the outcome uncertain.
Making plans is a waste of time. There are no easy paths forward. There is the certainly that living for today makes sense. That worrying about the what ifs is a waste of time.
Remember that you are both members of the cancer club with many other people facing similar issues. This time Lee is taking the lead, that is a gift for me.
I understand Lee not wanting to talk about it with our friends or family yet. Get more solid information first. Let the concept sink in. Let the emotions roll over us for a while without the complication of discussion or explanations just yet.
So I write it out here. There is safety in sharing feelings and emotions here. This is a safe spot to explore thoughts. I find comfort in reading others blogs. I cannot explain why it is easier to share here on a blog than to tell friends. I think it is because I cannot tolerate someone else’s emotional reaction while I am just centering my own feelings. It feels too raw to share and that keeping it personal feels better for right now.
Decluttering my office or physical space is easy. Clearing out my brain and emotional status is harder. My best defense has been to just stay busy. No time to think keeps all the worry thoughts and fear away. Yet true self care depends on me considering my thoughts, emotional and spiritual needs. Time outside in nature gives me space and appreciation for living, Sharing that time with Lee makes it precious time. Allowing emotions like fear to just run through without taking root is what I strive for.
This last year we both have redefined what is important. I focus on spending time on what matters. I have simplified some things that were taking up too much time with no positive return. This weekend is set aside for office and physical decluttering. I am giving myself some quiet thinking too along with it. That sitting in silence allows my brain to rest. Quiet time gives me time to do a self check on my emotional state.
How I am feeling?
What do I need?
What action will bring me back to balance if I am feeling off?
I have found at times it helps to just accept sadness as your focus for one whole day.
No happy slogans, no motivational reading, no self talk about look on the bright side, no practice of gratitude. Just sink into sad. Accept it, embrace it and allow yourself to feel all of the aspects of sad without judgement.
A funny thing happened when I gave myself a sad day. I felt free of responsibility. I felt content to achieve nothing. I felt relieved at having nothing on my to do list. I did not worry about how Lee felt. I did not consider who needed anything from me. It was almost like a release from all the other days when I pretend everything is great, fine and I have no worries.
I think it would be a better balance to acknowledge sad feelings as they appear on a regular basis. If I were better at allowing feelings to surface and pass along, I might not need a whole day to be just sad. Until I am able to do that one sad day when ever I feel the need to just be sad seems a reasonable compromise.
What tugs at my heart more than anything else are the words: ” I feel really bad, I couldn’t get off the couch yesterday.” There is no reasonable response to that statement.
It is now clear that radiation treatments are no better than chemo treatments for the impact on Lee’s system. Can I help? No. Can I do anything for him? No. Can I fix this? No.
That is my frustration and emotional distress. Can I ask the doctor better questions? Yes.
Can I give him permission to be in charge of how long he does radiation? Yes.
With two brains together we decide he can skip a day and talk to his doctor about options. I am in Florida, but I can be on the phone with them. I offer up what I do know he can take for inflammation with interfering with treatment. Aloe I have in stock, it does help. Eat easily digestible foods, slightly better.
One day everything seems awful, the next day slightly better, no worse than the rest of this past year. I think just the idea that he is in charge and has choices helps him decide to keep going. Use the Aloe daily (thank goodness for market america products), try a different medication and keep checking back with his doctor.
What I appreciated the most was a doctor who asked, Can you keep going? Instead of telling Lee you must keep doing this. Ending with let’s just take if one day at a time.
Do your best and we will see what happens. “We”, is such an important word. Asking instead of telling changes your attitude so easily. Isn’t that good advice for all of us, do your best effort and take it one day at a time.
Waiting for good news
Waiting for the treatments to be done
Waiting for Lee to feel better
Waiting for the days we don’t get asked , How is it going?
Waiting for the time when there are no bills to sort or call back about
Waiting for the time we can start making plans ahead
Waiting for things that I cannot control to be more predictable
Waiting, Waiting, just waiting
Soon I will stop waiting and focus on living today
Soon I will pay more attention to what I love to do
Soon I will live in the moment
Soon I will move out of the shadow of cancer
Soon I will plan how to spend more time together this summer
Feelings run deep, time stands still while we wait in this quiet space called cancer treatment
Just when I think I have a smooth path, I start to feel off balance again. Re focus, more time for me, less time for others. I am starting a morning practice of sitting quietly for 5 minutes speaking aloud phrases that sooth me.
I am loved
I am lovable
I am enough
Let me find peace