Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Try, Try and Try again

Have you ever given 110 per cent of your efforts to a person or to an activity?  And then when you have given your all, you find out it wasn't enough and you have to go back  and try again?  When is it considered enough?  Today I was wrestling with these questions.

Let me back up to the beginning of the day.  Overall, I had a great day!   I woke up with anticipation and excitement as I was meeting a friend for coffee and a visit.  Three hours went by very quickly (my goodness did we have a lot to talk about and discover about each other!) and we were saying our farewells as we went our separate ways to take on the rest of the day.  What a great way to start the day!

I planned to take the rest of the day and work on catching up on housework as the weather forecast was calling for rain.  I was remembering what my chiropractor told me yesterday about taking it easy and letting my shoulder rest but I thought I could handle vacuuming the house, dusting the house and cleaning the bathrooms.  That wouldn't be too much.  That would rest my shoulder.  At least that was what I was telling myself in an effort to convince myself that I was still listening to my body.  Yeah right!!  I had my lunch and then went downstairs to start tidying up my music studio.

As I walked into my studio, the piano was calling my name.  I went over and reacquainted myself with my piano.  It was soothing to my soul to play some Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart and Handel.  Now I was distracted and yearning to pick up my flute.  I haven't played my flute since the end of November when my throat was first sore and my family doctor hinted that I may have cancer.  I took my flute off the shelf and put it together.  As I brought it to my lip, my comfort levels were contradicting.  My flute settled against my lip fairly comfortably as if I had just played last week.  However, my core muscles which are used for support were weak and uncoordinated as were my fingers.  My throat muscles were also weak and uncoordinated.  I tried to play one short study as an introduction to my first time playing.  When I first started to play, I experienced a coughing attack just like I did on November 20, 2011 which was the first day I realized something was wrong with me.  I stopped playing and waited for the coughing to subside.  Then I tried to play again.  This was good as there was no more coughing.  However, I ran out of breath very quickly.  I persevered in my attempt to practise.  I played slowly in an effort to get my fingers to work together.  My support started to work again but weakly.  I only played for 10 minutes and I was very tired.  My throat was scratchy sore afterwards.  I'm not sure that this is a good sign.  I'll mention this to my oncologist when I see him for a check up tomorrow.  I cleaned my flute up and put it away on the shelf again.  Hopefully, I'll be able to pick it up again soon.  I've missed my flute.  It is discouraging though to have to start from scratch to work myself and my muscles up to the level of playing that I expect from myself.   Two other times in my life,  I've been in this situation of starting anew with my flute.  The first time was just after I graduated and I was not feeling good about my flute.  I deliberately put it away for two years before I felt the motivation to play again.  The second time I had to start over wtih my flute was five years ago when I had surgery on my ulna nerve in my left arm after having broke my wrist and also had some hand surgery done at the same time to remove Dupuytren's Disease from my left hand.  Today as I practised, I realized that I'm a little tired of trying again and again to pick my flute up and start from the beginning.  I'm not giving up yet but I am concerned about the fact that my throat was sore after playing.

I never did get to cleaning my house as the phone rang and I enjoyed a nice long visit with a friend from California.  This is a good thing as my shoulder did need the rest.  It was less sore today and by this evening, I'm not feeling any discomfort with it at all.

Perhaps I'm feeling discouraged with trying again to start from the beginning with my flute because my body is still tired and discouraged from the chemotherapy.  I certainly had to try, try and try again through each cycle of chemo in order to gear myself up for the next round.  Maybe I'm just tired of trying.  Maybe it is too soon to try and play my flute.  It certainly seems to take much more effort than my piano.  I had thought that since I can't sing yet, then maybe I could enjoy playing my flute.  Part of me wants to get back to playing my flute with my chamber music friends.  Oh well.....I'll be trying yet again but when I try again may depend on what my oncologist says about my throat tomorrow.  My fear is that my throat may not come back to normal because of scar tissue and it may interfere with my ability to open my throat enough to play and sing.  Again, I'm at the point of having to hand my worries over to God to take care of.  Otherwise, I'll drive myself into the emotional "blues" as I wait for my body to fully heal.


  1. I'm thinking that if you're so eager to get going, it's a good sign. It seems that your energy and strength are building up. It's been a rough ride and your body has taken a beating. Time will heal all that and I am sure you'll get right back on that horse. I had a wonderful time yesterday, Cathy. I couldn't believe how fast the time flew by. You are so easy to talk to, and I am more convinced than ever that you are as genuine and down to earth as I've always thought. Thank you for a lovely visit. I look forward to doing it again.

  2. Thank YOU for the wonderful visit, Martha. I really enjoyed getting to know you better and am looking forward to our developing friendship. Scott wasn't so happy to hear I was playing my flute. I'll be checking with my doctor this afternoon about that activity as the left side of my neck does feel like there's pressure there. I'm hoping it is just swelling from using it and not new growth of the lymph node. I'm a little anxious. Looking forward to continuing to get to know you better.