Friday, 27 July 2012

A Day Spent Outdoors

Yesterday I ran into my hairdresser.  I knew that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer back in March so I was really happy to hear "I like your hair!" when I was walking through the grocery store.  It was my hairdresser!!  Her hair is growing back in but my hair is slightly longer at the moment.  I was just so glad to see her.  She isn't totally finished her journey of treatments but I'm keeping her in my prayers as I hope there is a good outcome.

I woke up with energy this morning.  This was great as I need to get myself ready to go on my next vacation.  So today I got a load of laundry done and hung out.  I still had energy!  (As an aside, who knew that I would get excited about doing laundry a year ago!!)  Yesterday, we received some badly needed rain.  It rained all day which was good news as my vegetable plants were wilting.  Today my flowers are looking perkier and my vegetable garden looked happier.  So this morning, I took the opportunity of some cooler air to pull weeds and clean up my gardens.  I've neglected them because I've either been too tired to spend time on them or I've been too busy visiting with friends and family.  As I pulled the weeds, I listened to the cardinal singing away.  She was answered by the blue jay who was squawking at a black squirrel.  I also heard birds singing (squawking) that we have heard for the last few weeks.  My husband and I saw one last week when we went for a walk.  It was a larger bird and when I looked in my bird book, it looked like a sharp-shinned hawk.  Today once I was finished weeding, I looked up the bird call of a sharp-shinned hawk on Google.  I really think we have a family of them in the neighbourhood.  Maybe they nested up the street in the park but there are three young ones that I have seen flying through the neighbourhood.  They're very noisy.

As I weeded my vegetable garden and my flowerbeds this morning, it was very relaxing and peaceful to hear all the birds.  I was just finishing my weeding when I felt the heat starting to get to me.  As I went inside, I realized that I had been outside for about 3 hours!!  Today was certainly a better day for me.  I even got another load of laundry done and hung outside to dry.

An acquaintance of my husband's (who lives far away from us) is fighting for his life with lung cancer.  We discussed him tonight as we sat on the patio waiting for our supper to cook.  My husband seemed to get the feeling that his friend may be giving up.  As I listened, I wondered what I could do or say to help both my husband and his friend (and his wife).  I realized that the iron will to live and fight has to come from within.  How do you motivate someone (kick someone in the butt) to decide to fight for their life even though they are tired, sore, sick and perhaps depressed.  Yesterday, I felt the urge to contact my husband's acquaintance.  I've never met this man.  He doesn't know me.  I sent him a private message in an effort to encourage him.  I mentioned the different foods that helped to boost my immune system during treatments.  I mentioned how ginger green tea helped me feel better and tasted better than water.  I tried to encourage him.

Before my diagnosis of lymphoma, I couldn't speak or write to people who had cancer.  I never knew what to say.  As I talked with my hairdresser and then discussed with my husband his acquaintance, I realized that in some ways I still don't know what to say!  My prognosis was very can I offer hope to those whose prognosis is not as good?  What do I say?  I get the sense that both of these people are not very religious.  How do I help them?  For me, my belief and faith was everything!!  How do I encourage someone who doesn't have that faith?  I don't want to "convert" them.  I just want to offer them some motivation to hope and make their current quality of life better.  I feel compassion for them.

As I think about these things, I realized that I repeated my mantra "one breath at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time" so many times during the course of my chemotherapy treatments.  So with my husband's acquaintance, maybe he just needs to concentrate on one breath at a time until the nausea and pain passes.  Then while waiting for appointments, maybe he needs to think just one moment at a time....and make each moment worth remembering for himself and all of his family.  A moment can be spent outdoors just sitting and enjoying a loved one's company.  A moment can be sitting in the car while it is parked overlooking the lake or favourite natural spot.  A moment might be writing a letter to your child where you pour out your heart, hopes and dreams for them....just in case you don't make it.  A moment can then lead to a step.  Just like a toddler takes one step before falling down, then another step or two before falling down.  That toddler fixates on where he/she wants to get to.  This is what I did when I didn't feel well.  I fixated on my next reward to myself when I knew I would start to feel a little better.  That reward would be a visit with friends or family.  Or a car ride out and about to just get a different view and scenery.

I'll continue to pray for these two people as well as three other people that I know are struggling with various forms of cancer.  I still don't know what to say to them.  I also feel guilty that I'm in remission and moving forward with vacation plans.  I even see the return to work is on my horizon.  I'll pray for myself for guidance in knowing what to say and also for a release of feeling badly that I'm surviving and getting stronger each day while people around me are still struggling, crawling and fighting this horrible disease.

1 comment:

  1. How sad about that man fighting for his life. I imagine he is in a lot of pain in so many ways. There are so many people doing battle with cancer; a horrible, devastating disease that I pray we will one day find a cure for.