Monday, 2 May 2016

The Little Man on the Shoulder Called "Fear"

In the last year and a bit, I've had small health scares that caused anxiety until it was all sorted out. My singing voice has been slow to come back to where it once had been. About a year ago, it started going hoarse like at the beginning of my lymphoma journey in 2011. I mentioned it at my check up at the Cancer Centre a year ago. No lumps or swelling had been found at my check up and my blood levels were fine. No elevated white blood cells and no elevated proteins. I was referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist) to have a scope done. This happened in August of 2015. The scope showed to nodules on my larynx but no cancer. I was told to rest my voice (no speaking or singing) for 3 to 6 months. I was also told I was being referred to a speech therapist to learn how to speak properly. I'm still waiting for an appointment for the speech therapist. I was told it could take up to 2 years. In December, I went to an occupational therapist who specializes in musicians. She uses an alternative therapy called the Feldenkrais Method. I went for 4 sessions where she worked with my neck, shoulders, back and overall relaxation of the bodies muscles. After the first session, the resonance in my voice was already increased. By the end of the fourth session, I was able to sing like I used to AND I was able to play my flute with no discomfort in my throat area. The last session, I took my flute to the appointment at the request of my therapist. It was the first time that I was able to create a warm, resonant tone on the instrument since 2011!!

In the midst of my sessions, I realized that I needed to remove some of the stresses that were causing all the tension in my body. In the middle of January, I applied and was given a new job that is totally different from the music and teaching that I've been doing for over 25 years. I still have my home studio where I teach students in the evenings until 8 p.m. I have started a new job in retail within our local hospital. The bonus for me is that the hours are regular and involve no evenings or weekends. I've been enjoying life fully. I've been full joie de vivre. My weekends have been wonderful spending time with my hubby while we have been hiking and trying to be more active.

Last week, I went for my annual physical. In this era of instant result, I was able to access the results of some routine tests online. Something was flagged as "High". Friday morning, I spent time googling the results of that particular test. Sometimes a little information isn't good. The results of my test could be for a routine issue or it can be a warning that there may be a cancer involved. As I googled more information, I found out that one of the drugs used in my chemo can cause this specific cancer. So after 4 years of gradually coming out of a place of anxiety and fear, I found myself anxious and fear-ridden on Friday and Saturday. I talked to my hubby and then I started using some of my coping strategies I used while in the diagnosis and treatment stage 4 years ago. I took my fears and the "what ifs" and imagined opening that closet door in my mind labelled "What Ifs", throwing the fears in and slamming the door. Now I'll be calling my family doctor and seeing what is up.

The little man (fear) is back on my shoulder.

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