I always said my blog would be mostly about entertaining, and sometimes purely from the heart. This is one of the those.
From time to time I ask myself why I blog and I keep coming up with the same answer, I have no bloody idea! My friends would argue that I am one of the most private people they know and yet here I am not only opening up my house, friends and my family (and so it seems nobody is off-limits) I am also sharing personal things about myself. Nobody could be more surprised about this than me.
In part, you feel a sense of freedom writing, a little liberated by sharing your words. Writing provides you with the breathing space to think and it leaves you feeling lighter somehow. So surely that is reason enough for now?
My sister sets the challenge |my sister phoned me (and I am fast thinking I might need to retitle my blog… “a day in the life of my sister and me” and she told me how a friend of hers had just returned from a yoga class, and the teacher gave them one word. I could hear where this was heading, and I wasn’t liking it. She was going to occupy some of my refreshed head space to undertake some challenge. She must have heard my sigh, because she gently pushed on regardless, and added that the word was “attachment”. In my head, I am thinking, so the challenge begins!
I make my way from the bedroom, down the stairs, headed towards the kettle for my second cup of tea for the morning while emptying the dryer and feeding the goldfish. We are extraordinary multi-taskers, we women! As I make the walk (holding my mobile phone in my left hand and knowing that my steps are being recorded at the same time, because seriously who else would walk around the house with their mobile phone in their hand) I am picturing attachment as many things; clothing, MAC lipsticks, shoes, crockery, cheeseboards and I am starting to think that these are addictions not “attachments”, and I am liking the challenge even less now. I put my mind to my husband, my son and the thoughts start to ramble and fill my otherwise quiet space and I again realise these are not attachments, but commitments.
As I am multi-tasking my demanding and meaningful list of things to do, I also fill my arms with our over-flowing medicine chest, because I remember telling myself yesterday that today was the day I needed to make good here. Unlike my spice drawer, which is filled with love and organisation, our medicine chest has been starting to resemble my son’s bedroom (before he left home). It is starting to look a little like Niagara Falls, same cascading attributes just missing the abundance of beauty. But hey my mother told me my mind was filled with imagination so I am confident that with the right degree of effort I can turn this exercise into something exciting (feeling my creativity fast depleting as I hold that thought).
Finding my attachment | I sit myself down with my cup of tea, our medicine chest and in this lovely quite almost mindful state, I start to again think about attachment. I am still struggling to see the point of it, further frustrated that my sister has filled my otherwise restful mind.
I reach to where the bulk of the medicines have banked up and I start to discard them. One by one I start throwing out Endone, Tramadol, Targin, MC Contin, Maxolon, Kytril, Glycerol Suppositories, Coloxy, Dexathasone, Naproxen, Ural, Lorazepam, White soft paraffin, Jelonet and the list just kept rolling out like a roll of toilet paper on a bad day. Before me I saw a group of medications that I did not even know existed before a breast cancer diagnosis.
As I look at these medications, I feel a certain sadness come over me, weird that. It was a reminder of where I was just less than two years ago, then this emotion is closely followed by some strange sympathy I extend to myself (which is something I never afforded myself until this truly reflective moment, because I always believed I needed to stay strong throughout treatment). As I sat there thinking, I started to accept that this was why I have been continuing to struggle somewhat with my health, and why I have been getting so frustrated with myself (and if I am to be real sometimes truly disappointed) that I don’t seem to be able to find my way back to that same person I was “before BC”.
I look at all those tablets and I remember how my body has been to hell and back and that I deserve to be kind to myself not disappointed.
I sit with the thought that it is OK not being perfect, not to be able to do maybe everything I did before, and if I find myself visiting my Doctor more times than I do my hairdresser, so be it!
So why did I hold onto those medications for all this time? A list that I never knew existed before BC, a list that I never had a need to know existed. I haven’t needed them now for almost two years, so why? It is then, that I see my “attachment” and why I have been holding onto them…just in case.
photo| my bad…find your unhealthy attachment, look it in the face and kiss it goodbye!
Bugger the just in case!!! Out the door went my attachment!!!
If I dig a little deeper I might actually find that my writing has helped my recovery. Anxiety creeps into your head in the middle of the night, disguised as a friend and before you know it this other person has settled into your thoughts and your behaviour uninvited and unwanted.
I know that there are some of you who read my blog who have also been affected by a breast cancer diagnosis and are like me still in treatment in one way or another. If not breast cancer, then it is something else. Let’s be real, a diagnosis pulls us up short and it changes us. In many ways the changes are good and in some ways just not always in our control. I prefer to focus on the good and the sometimes great and yet it does not stop those times of great frustration and disappointment trying to wrestle for a spot.
This is why I blog. It is my therapy. Saying things out loud means that they no longer clog your otherwise poor recovering brain which has already gone to war for you and keeps on fighting. This is why we need our girlfriends so that we can keep the talk happening.
Having found my attachment, I give myself a little more time to reflect and I see that I have been mourning an earlier version of me, a more vibrant, energetic and healthier me. I ran a business for goodness sake, how demanding can that get. Maybe these feelings start to creep in when we start to create space. Any diagnosis will do this, some more serious than others and some with unspeakable outcomes. Whatever the diagnosis, it is real for each us and those around us.
And yet, I am now other things which I wasn’t before. I am more compassionate, patient, understanding, a better listener, more caring and finally I am more honest about my feelings. What blessings! My diagnosis taugh me many things as I am sure it has you.
For now I am on tamoxifen which comes with its own set of side effects, my legs don’t work like they use to and I take pain killers to dull the nerve pain, etc etc. Recently I found myself watching a girlfriend, a healthier version of me, stand up from the table and her legs didn’t work. She told me it was age. I started to think that maybe I am attributing too many of these changes to treatment rather than just accepting them as part of life and getting on with it.
It is so easy to give things labels. Once they have a label they become an attachment. My days of heavy treatment and a truck load of drugs was back then, and this is now. Whatever challenges we have going forward, is life, so little point staying stuck. This is a new phase and can be a great phase if only we start to be in the moment. We need to embrace our lives the best way we can and enjoy it.
My spiritual friend, recently told me that this is the path we are all on, an unfolding journey, that every soul finds them self on, called life. When we are starting to move from singular beings towards a collective beautiful space.
A thought | Be kind to yourself and keep talking with your girlfriends (coffee, cake and chocolate is just fine with me). Girlfriends are better than any medicine.
Love to all our sisters. 💋