Wow another week gone, how is it that I think(say) that every week and still seem to not have found the cure for it? Last Christmas a long-time friend of mine said "duh Nat you should just be used to that by now?" LOL But I am not. Maybe it is my inner over-achiever, or my fast-paced family who lovingly drag me along with them? I could even blame it on chemo brain at this point in my life, but wow time flies. Was going to use my fave saying time flies when you're having fun, but I must admit I am having as much fun as I am not. It is all about balance you know!
This weekend I got a new toy. All for me and my future writing aspirations - and my personal sanity level - I got a notebook tablet thingy woot woot! Laptop is going to die any day plus my family of five (okay well three plus two halves?) needs more 'puter time than we each get, so I took the plunge into Windows 8.1 and a touchscreen yah baby new love of my life. ;-)
I can play with it as much as I want, and can take it to Toronto with me without disrupting everyone at home, and it does everything except the banking. And well, folding the laundry. The family can fold the laundry while I chill in the big city with my touchscreen yah! haha just kidding... truth be told a main selling feature for this particular tech device is that it came with a free year (accidentally two years YAH) of MS Office, and the girls need PowerPoint often for school projects. So now we have said convenient device and it will (has already) make our lives (my life) a teeny bit easier.
I have a few blog posts planned that I am behind on, specifically details about the radioactive iodine treatment I am to receive in March, but in the meantime I wanted to quick update you on my thoughts on convenience. Hence the personal notebook: every little bit of convenience helps.
While living with cancer I have observed a shift in my thinking, or at least I can see a shift tries to happen every now and then, but of course I fight it every step of the way. I seem to do everything the hard way. Always have, of course. I have been called stubborn a time or two, and I recognize in myself that I am not truly satisfied with my situation, whatever the case may be, unless I have butchered the damned thing with every ounce of energy I have. I try and I try and I try and I may end up exhausted but once I get to the end result I was seeking in the first place? Happy camper. Quiet, not crabby, content person/woman/mother/wife/whatever ready to tackle the next tough job.
This week I fixed a little problem which I have been resisting for months - resisting the fix, not the problem. There are some quirky symptoms or side-effects of my disease that I don't always share. I discuss most of this stuff openly, and most are simple, not life-threatening problems. Some however, are small problems but cumulatively are a threat to my future.
One in particular, I will reserve the details of, but I can say it is uncomfortable physically. Again, on its own it may not be too bad, but long-term it could be a problem. And short term? Well it's a royal pain in the ass. I go out places or see people and they say "you look great!" - meanwhile I very deeply understand and privately empathize with the people I have read about or have cancer in common with: there are some things you just can't explain, but they are very limiting to your daily lifestyle.
Nose bleeds for example; say I had nosebleeds several times per day, at random times, unexpected, no clue to any pattern or relation to any personal habits or diet etc, but nosebleeds nonetheless. When they first started happening it was just one or two per day or every other day, but now it has become a several box of tissues per week problem. They are not life-threatening (typically), can be cured with a simple rest and a tissue, but could be seriously disrupting to the daily schedule.
Imagine being on cash on a busy Saturday afternoon at my favourite grocery store, or trying to conduct a professional presentation at a conference, or doing your banking, or walking down the street, or visiting a friend over tea, and poof! Nosebleed. Quickly remedied perhaps, a bit embarrassing, those in the room understand, maybe not too bad once in a while... but several times, every day? Having to excuse yourself and grab the tissues and wait for it to pass? Risk staining my clothes? Look funny, feel gross? Not to mention what kind of nutritional deficiencies those nosebleeds could be causing on a prolonged basis?
Yikes, I'd rather stay home.
I do not have nosebleeds everyday, I am not writing this piece to cause any panic, but my physical symptoms are comparable to that. Irritating, embarrassing, not a huge deal in the big picture but enough to show me that I am at the mercy of whatever path this is that I am on. My journey now includes "nosebleeds" lets say, and I have to learn to deal with it. The fact that I don't WANT to deal with nosebleeds is aside, and out of my control.
The cure for "nosebleeds" has been in front of me for a few months, but I have refused it as I am already participating in half a pharmacy worth of experiments so my greeny-nature and stubborn anti-pharma personality has chosen the hard way: live with the nosebleeds.
Here's where the shift in thinking occurs... this week I finally grew frustrated and weak from the nosebleeds and took the medicine for it. Grumbled, swore it wouldn't work, but took it. And it wasn't until I realised I wasn't having the "nosebleeds" that I realised my life was that teeny bit more like it was before. Before the cancer diagnosis and the body-altering big-company chemical treatments. That small convenience was back - yay no nosebleeds. Or far fewer at least. Have to take the medicine yes, but maybe that's not a bad tradeoff for having one less symptom to complain (or run and hide) about.
The part that troubles me most is that I didn't realize I was as upset and inconvenienced about the "nosebleeds" as I really was. It wasn't until they stopped, that I stopped in my stubborn tracks and said hey... when did I become okay with all these nosebleeds I was having?
How many months have gone by when I thought I was fine with all of this and staying true to who I am, or who I was... but then change one thing back to "normal" and presto! I can see clearly that my daily routine is altered. My daily life is altered. Perhaps forever, and my fears of not being able to repair that are haunted by stupid little cumulative things such as nosebleeds. I am a different person already, and that is what I am trying to avoid. I don't want to be a cancer person... I was fine with who I was before!
Cancer seems to be such a mind game. Its a head trip that takes 100% effort to control. And I am clear that it isn't necessarily effort that wins it, certainly countless have put their best into this fight and have lost. So how do I be sure to come out on top?
Trust my gut on the little things, take the conveniences when I can, appreciate the help that is given to me, and above all try to stay focused on not letting the nosebleeds in life get the better of me. Or make sure I recognize the nosebleeds for what they are and keep them in check, regardless of how I may have dealt with them before. Haven't had nosebleeds like this before!?!
Feel like I can't let my guard down. Ever. Phew that's a tall order - no wonder time flies so fast.
Article © Natalie Richardson 2015