Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Calm In The Eye Of The Storm

It's been one very hectic week.  And things don't look like they're going to slow down anytime soon.  Last week, as noted in this blog already, I returned to work after being off for nine months while I went through chemo treatments and then recovered.  You would think that I would return slowly....and that was my intention.  I would resume work and take it easy on my down time....NOT!!

I was very tired after work each day.  I expected that I would recuperate over the weekend.  But then I wanted to and had to support my son as he played ball in an all-star tournament.  He had to be at the ball park on Friday at 11:30 a.m. and it was at least a three hour drive away.  To make the ball weekend summary short, my son's team won the tournament on Sunday but it made for a very late night on Sunday night as we drove home.  I knew I was tired on Saturday when it was difficult to get myself up and going to the ball field.  I'm now dragging and feeling like I'm out of energy especially after an evening of work last night.

Today I have a full day of teaching.  As well, my daughter is needing my attention as she's not well and my father-in-law is arriving from out of province tonight for a visit.  This means I need to get the house in order.  This morning I awoke feeling refreshed after a good night's sleep but as I have become alert, my mind is starting to race.  This is now when I need to rely on some new tools to keep myself "calm in the eye of the storm".  So I'm blogging in an effort to release some of the anxiety.  I'm also relying on deep breathing to keep myself relaxed.

On top of al of this, I received a call yesterday booking me for an MRI on my brain tomorrow morning at 7:30.  As I mentioned last week in my 3 month check-up, my doctor was referring me for an MRI just to make sure my memory problems are not more than a lingering side effect of the chemo.  I've never had an MRI before.  I am a little afraid of the procedure but also of the "what ifs".  What if the pain I've been experiencing in my right shoulder and my right hip are signs of cancer in the bones?  What if the memory and vocabulary problems I've been having are a sign of lymphoma in the brain?  When the "what ifs" start I sometimes rebut them with the aches in my joints are due to muscles being used that haven't been used in months.  Or the memory issues are really just a lingering side effect of the chemo.  The "what ifs" are  terrible thoughts to deal with.  They can cause crippling fear.  They can cause underlying anxiety and tension which then robs you of the enjoyment of the present.  This is why, when the "what ifs" start, I use self-discipline and imagery.  I imagine the "what ifs" as balls of crumpled paper that spill out all over the floor when I open the closet door in my mind labelled "What Ifs".  Once the "what ifs" are out on the floor, I imagine taking a shovel and shovelling them back inside the closet and slamming the door.  I'm not ignoring them.  I do realize where the anxiety is coming from.  But sometimes we have to wait for answers and this is my way of putting the anxiety aside until I have the answers.  This technique of imagery along with keeping busy helped me deal with the waiting of test results while I went through the diagnostic process in December of 2011.  I've recognized over the summer and throughout September so far that the imagery of a closet labelled "What Ifs" is also helping me live in the moment and reduce the worry of the future.

I remember in June wondering how I was going to live with this thing called cancer living perched on my shoulder.  The thought of cancer is always there even though it is in remission.  Until I've cleared the 5 to 7 year mark and I'm deemed cured, I believe there will always be the "what ifs".  My challenge is living a normal, busy life without being over ridden with anxiety and fear.  For me praying helps and it is another way to keep things in perspective and balanced.

So I'm signing off and tackling the bathrooms in preparation for my father-in-law's visit.  Hopefully I will have time to exchange some clothing at a local store for my daughter and also to visit the hardware store before I start to work today.  I think it was a radio personality used to say "So go and take on the day" or something like that.  I'm off now to go and take on my day.

1 comment:

  1. I hope all goes well today, Cathy. It's perfectly understandable that the 'what ifs' haunt you. We all deal with that even if we've never dealt with cancer, so I can imagine that it is 100 times worse for someone who has battled it.