So there we go, that is everything to date, I am typing this on day 11 after the surgery, sat at my desk (albeit with plenty of cushions for comfort), and rather slowly given my poor hand function which hasn’t improved yet. That’s definitely the hardest part at the moment. Pain I can deal with (and it is improving day by day), but not having my independence is really tough. I have no idea whether it is a matter of time for the function to return, whether the tumour is still causing a lot of compression, or whether there has been permanent damage. Only time will tell and I have to have patience.
The past week or so has given me lots of time for reflection, so I thought this was a good time to write down some positives that have come out of this nightmare. I will never be glad of cancer, its already put me and those close to me through a lot of misery, and I know there will be plenty more tough times to come, but something like this really does help you live in the moment and find the positive in every day.
That’s not to say I haven’t had some big wobbles, and if you are someone reading this going through cancer or any other tough situation, know that they are completely allowed! A good cry is incredibly cathartic. I’ve cried over the small things and big things; not being able to tie up my own hair given my hand weakness, not being able to cuddle Oscar better when he cries, when looking with horror at my rapidly changing body and loss of tone and glow of health I had but weeks ago, and at how fed up I am of not being able to live my life normally. But crying about these things is a release and afterwards I feel calmer and make sure I focus on something good in my life.
I’ve already told you about my wonderful support team and reconnecting with old friends, but my situation is also helping me gain clarity about what is important and put everything in perspective. I feel lucky in a way, as this is a journey that I’ve been on since my original diagnosis; as you’ll already have read, I made the big life changes then, so this time, as I’m already in such a happy place in my life, I’ve really been able to focus on the small things that make a difference to my wellbeing.
I’ve made a few physical/ lifestyle changes, for example to diet, but I’ll come back to discussing these another day, here I want to focus on the mental/emotional. I’ve started using a meditation/ mindfulness app “Headspace” every day to ensure I have a few special minutes just for me. After all, I’m still a mum to a toddler and that’s pretty all consuming, even with my family helping out! Meditation is something I’ve been meaning to do for so long, but never prioritised, but now I’m doing it, my day wouldn’t feel complete without. Giving myself that time has enabled me to see more clearly the positives in my life. Be it the big ones like my incredible family, or the small ones, like the joy I feel sitting in my little garden I’ve nurtured for years.
We all have things to be grateful for, so when you’ve read this, spend a few minutes thinking about what they are. And conversely, if there are things in your life that you are unhappy with, think about what you can do to change them. One piece of advice I was given when one of my college lecturers heard my news, was to imagine exactly where I wanted to be in the future, five years/ ten years from now, then think about what I could do to make that my life now. For me this was a very calming exercise, as actually there isn’t a huge amount I want different at the moment! I have already started the family I really wanted and am training for the new career, but a couple of years ago this would have been exactly the right exercise for me, and others may gain a lot from it. I don’t think you should wait for a cancer diagnosis or other life changing event to think about these things. None of us know what is round the corner, so sit down today and think about how you can make your life better!
Instead I’m focusing on the smaller, day to day stuff. I’m a bit of a perfectionist/ control freak! I definitely have my way of doing things and get stressed when things aren’t done “right”. To be fair, the past couple of years, particularly becoming a mum, have made me relax a bit, but it’s definitely an area I can improve! The past few weeks have shown me that the house won’t collapse if the laundry basket is overflowing, or the washing up is left in a pile for a while, so perhaps these things won’t stress me as much in future. I’m also a meticulous planner, and right now planning is almost impossible. I hope that going forward I will be able to embrace spontaneity a bit more, and not always feel everything has to be planned to the last detail!
It’s been a pretty personal post this one, but I hope that reading it may help a few of you think about the good things in your life, or even make a small change to make yourself happier.
Go and see the positive in everyday…