Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tools for Coping with Life

Since I've returned to work, I have less time to myself.  I realize that I've not been keeping up with my daily reading and guided meditation from "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo.  I have replaced my "The Friendship Book 2012" and I find that I need to get myself back into the habit of reading it every morning.  These two readings were very helpful to me while I was going through my treatments.  They helped me psychologically and emotionally.  I also used to pray every morning while I was in treatment.  I would include prayers for other people and their circumstances but I also prayed for myself and my home using The Encircling Prayer.  It goes like this:

Encircling Prayer

The Sacred Three my fortress be
Encircling me.
Come and be round
My hearth and my home

During my prayer time, I would also hand over my worries and anxieties into God's hands.  Again, I haven't been keeping up with this daily practice.  Perhaps this is why I've been feeling down in the dumps again.  I've been allowing my work and demands of family to push aside my "quiet" time. 

Many, many years ago, I used to rely on and nurture my faith daily.  This helped me survive a traumatic time in my life.  As life improved, I still had my very strong faith but I didn't nurture it in quite the same way.  In my experience, if I don't nurture the spiritual part of me daily, I begin to grow away from God.  I begin to rely strictly upon myself.  Being human, I end up making mistakes and paying the consequences.  Sometimes those consequences take an emotional toll on me.  I've always said it is harder to stay close to God when life is going along smoothly than when there are problems.  I need to learn to continue to walk closely with God during the good times as well.  My bout with lymphoma last winter reinforced to me the importance of making time for my daily readings, meditations and prayers.  Prayer, for me, doesn't necessarily mean a formal prayer but it may involve going for a brisk walk and contemplating problems and worries.  Prayer may be in the form of recognizing what is causing me anxiety and then mentally handing it over to God to carry for me.

I write about all this today because I've had another night of anxiety and worry.  I'm worrying about my family and some of our issues.  I'm worrying about my physical health as well as my emotional health.  I have a follow up appointment with my doctor this afternoon.  It is just to go over the MRI results which I've been told verbally are all fine.  My concern is now over a shoulder that has been causing me pain since the beginning of June.  Is it arthritis because it often happens during the night and improves as the day goes on?  Can this be another result of the chemo?  Could the pain be some cancer getting into the bones?  I've been struggling with my voice for the last couple of days while I was teaching.  This morning I awoke with a scratchy throat similar to what I awoke with last November and was a symptom of the lymphoma.  I'm still very tired and fatigued.  Is this because of the chemo I went through or is it because the lymphoma is returning and I feel the fatigue?

The good news is my memory seems to be getting better.  I'm not losing words as often anymore.  As for the other worries, I'll try to hand them over to God.  My worries and anxieties feel like heavy metal weights on my shoulders that I carry with me constantly as baggage.  I will be mentioning my worries to my doctor this afternoon.  I never was a hypochondriac before but I feel myself becoming one now.  I don't want to be worrying about every little ache or sore throat.  The scary thing is that the symptoms of the lymphoma were so "normal" and could be attributed to minor ailments like the common cold.

I'm looking forward to the next few days.  I'll be going on a solo visit via train to see my brother and sister-in-law.  I always like travelling by train because it gives me numerous hours to read and relax.  I like watching the countryside go by as the train travels through rural areas.  I'm hoping this break will rejuvenate me and help me rest.  I'm also looking forward to seeing some extended family members that I haven't seen in 16 years!  My fear is that I will return and be exhausted from the travelling.  I'll be returning just in time to start my next week of teaching.  I may blog once more before I leave but most likely won't be touching base until sometime next week after I return.

1 comment:

  1. Have a wonderful trip, Cathy! I am so happy to hear that you are going away. I think you really need to. You are barely done with your treatments, and already you have a mountain of worries and responsibilities to deal with. All the effects of chemo take a long time to go away, not to mention the emotional and psychological aspects of the disease, which continue to haunt you, and probably will for some time to come. Do not accept from anyone that you are over-reacting, or that you should get over it already. That is not fair, and it shows that many people do not truly understand the impact of cancer in every which way. Allow yourself the freedom to feel whatever you want to feel. And to deal with it any way you want. The healing process is long and complicated and confusing. Don't let anyone bully you into believing otherwise, or that you are being selfish or too dramatic. It has been a traumatizing experience and it is easy to understand that it will stay with you for awhile. I wish you a lovely time on this trip. Rest, enjoy, and laugh a lot. And don't worry about your family. They are all old enough and capable of taking care of themselves. Take care of you.