Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back to Reality

After eight months of taking it easy, it is time to get myself ready to go back to work and juggling my many responsibilities.  As I went through my chemotherapy treatments, I had plenty of time to think about all aspects of my life.  I thought about what I do for a career and whether I wanted or needed to make changes.  I examined how I handle and react to stress.  I examined my activities and worries in order to prioritize and decide which activities were beneficial to me and which activities added stress and anxiety to me.  While I was ill and going through treatment, I was forced to sit still and learn how to relax.  I also had to learn to deal with anxiety and the unkown future.  Throughout this whole process, I realized that I had to make changes to myself.  I needed to learn to let go of some of the details that I always thought were important.  As I recovered my health, strength and stamina this summer, I lived life to the fullest.

To be completely honest, I did too much in the last month or so.  I had a fantastic trip to California and enjoyed every moment.  This follows my new view of life which is to enjoy every single moment.  However, I was very tired after the trip and instead of taking time to recover, I played golf the very first day back.  I, again, enjoyed every moment of that day but it continued to drain my limited reserves of energy.  The following week, I didn't stop "doing" as I felt I had to get my home ready to teach private music lessons again in the Fall.  It was during this week that I fell back into my "old" mode of living and coping.  I ran myself ragged in order to get my house in order and get the laundry ready for the upcoming weekend away.  I remember writing in this blog during treatment or just after that I would not stretch myself in order to meet all my wants and obligations.  I relapsed and did stretch myself much too far.

I had a wedding that I was looking forward to since February while I was in treatment.  Throughout January through to August, I was excited about going to the wedding of my cousin and seeing all my extended family!  As it happens, my son's baseball team made the Ontario Baseball Association Championship Tournament that same weekend.  So now my weekend that I had looked forward to for months was being split between spending time with extended family and sitting at the ball field.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining as I really enjoy watching my son play baseball.  I always feel so proud of him as he plays and gives 115% whenever he plays.  The good thing is that the tournament was only 30 minutes away from where the wedding was taking place.  On the Friday, my family and I left home at 7 a.m. in order to make it to the baseball field for 11:30 a.m.  We watched my son play ball and had the unexpected surprise of having one of my brothers and his wife come to watch the game.  They had never seen my son play baseball before because we live too far away from each other.  This was bittersweet because this was my son's last weekend of rep baseball.  He'll be too old next year.  We saw my son pitch a complete game (7 innings) with 10 strike outs.  They won 6-0.  We then left to travel to my other brother's home where we were going to stay for the weekend.  Our son dropped us off and turned around to head back to the ball field for his next game.  You see the wedding was at 6 p.m. and my son's ball game was at 5:30 p.m.  This is what I mean about juggling my priorities, trying to live life to the fullest to create memories and preserving my sanity and strength.  Unfortunately, because of the early start on Friday morning, I wasn't able to stay as long at the wedding reception as I wanted.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful and I had looked forward to dancing the night away.  My body didn't let me do the dancing portion.  I was so tired on Friday night that I had to leave the reception right after the "compulsory" dances with the bride and her father (my uncle).  I was feeling dizzy and starting to feel nauseous because of being too tired.  The weekend went by much too quickly.  My son played 5 games of baseball in 36 hours!  By Sunday we were all exhausted.  We missed out on seeing the extended family at a brunch buffet on Saturday morning because we were at the ball field.  It was one of those times when I wanted to be at two places at the same time.  We compromised and met my mom for breakfast on Sunday morning before we drove back home.

On Monday, I intended to do the laundry from the weekend and start the process of organizing myself to start teaching in September.  The "new" me listened to my body and didn't do anything except the laundry.  I was so tired I couldn't move on Monday.  I couldn't have communicated coherently with business associates or parents and so that has been put off for the moment.  Yesterday I started feeling the "old" feelings of pressure, tension and anxiety as I realized all that I still have to do before I teach in a week or so.  I realized that I don't want to go back to the constant feeling of tension and anxiety that I used to live with before being sick.  So I thought about what helped me cope and relax during my treatments.  It came to my attention that I had stopped reading "The Friendship Book" and "The Book of Awakening" in the last couple of weeks.  I had also stopped enjoying my patio and nature.  As I try to get myself back into that routine, I'm learning that it helps me to be more relaxed.  Just taking those few moments in the morning to read the daily excerpts before I get "busy" helps me to cope and be more centred.  Stopping to enjoy a moment or two communing with God in a natural setting on my patio also helps to give me inner peace.  So yesterday, I did more laundry, I started contacting business contacts and I prepared a wonderful dinner for some friends who came over last night.  In the process, I took time to sit and watch the birds and read a book while the chickens cooked on the barbecue.

As I come back to my reality of juggling the many demands on my time as well as keeping myself and my family organized, I have to remind myself to nurture the inner soul at the same time.  I believe this will continue to be my challenge in the coming months.  As I've healed over the summer, I find it easier to neglect the spiritual side of me.  I think it is harder to keep the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of ourselves when life is ticking along with everything going well.  Again, I want to try to implement changes and nurture all aspects in a balanced way.  This is the challenge of coming back to reality after eight months of healing.  Certainly having lymphoma in the last year has made me want to make these lasting changes.  That's the challenge in the next few months and keep the changes that I've made within as permanent changes.

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