Yesterday after the visiting nurse left I came upstairs to rest. As I lay peacefully in my bed, and as proven time and time again with me, when I am tired all my defenses are down. I cannot stop the thought processes that run rampant through my mind. Ever so green were the memories of seeing my friend Linda for the first time after hearing of her diagnosis of cancer. She poo pooed it, saying “Oh don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine”. A couple of years later after many different and harsh treatments she succumbed to breast cancer. As I laid quietly, looking down at my bruised arms, being ever so careful not to lay any pressure on the tops of my hands to prevent discomfort from the bruises and agitated veins, I found myself wondering Have I poo pooed my own breast cancer diagnosis? Am I downplaying the significance that this diagnosis has and will have on my life? On my future? How many people have you seen after a diagnosis of cancer end up with one health problem after another until they eventually pass?
Cancer, serious illness or trauma can and does change your life. I have been focused on all the good things that have come to me since my diagnosis. The gifts of perspective, the outpouring of love and support from others, the incredible depth and soul of the human spirit and all that it survives and thrives through, the ability to let go of things that once consumed me and stole precious time from my life, and so much more. I have become a stronger, wiser, and in my opinion, a better person. As said in earlier posts, I wish this on no one, but I would not trade my own personal growth for the world. I believe the tougher, harder, difficult times of our lives build our character, bring us to understand who we are, what we are made of, and what is important to us. These are all positive things.
By focusing on the good, am I omitting to look at the reality of my situation? Am I denying the seriousness, defying the fear? I don’t think so. I have some very dark thoughts, and I know too well the power of cancer and other illnesses, too many to list that snatch the health of those we love and later their lives. But if we are doing everything we possibly can to keep this from happening, everything in our power, then why NOT focus on the positives? I think this is true for every situation in our lives. Positive attitudes are proven to bring positive outcomes. I read this on my cousin, Steve’s Facebook a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. ” I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t a God, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is”.
I have learned that it is important to honor my feelings. Feelings are not facts, they are not necesarilly clues to the truth, they are just feelings. If I stuff them, ignore them, they will eventually overfill the space allotted and come pouring out. If I focus too much on them, then I lose balance with reality. What meditation has taught me is to acknowledge that the feelings are there but not exert energy on understanding or blocking them… just be one with them. If I am to understand or gain knowledge from them, when the time is right I will. Feelings, experiences can provoke thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are not always happy, some stir painful emotions, things that are hard to face, think about, or feel. Talking about “things or feelings” like I did in my first paragraph does not mean I am dwelling or focusing on those very thoughts. I am however, honoring them. This is all part of my journey. I am not surrendering to this disease, and ironically, I’m not even fighting cancer at the moment! I am, however, still dealing with the effects of what this disease brought into my life, and complications thereof. I am humbly looking at realistic possibilities. Tonight, tomorrow, or the next day as my energy returns I will be physically active again, I will be returning to my busy life, and these thoughts will fade. Why are people so afraid to feel or talk about these things? And when you do, why are you told to just move on, let it go? Probably because they are uncomfortable emotionally. Unsettling, “dark” in nature. But for someone with medical diagnosis of a potentially terminal disease, it is somewhat realistic.
I have been a fan for many years now of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ work . She was a pioneer in the hospice movement. Talking to people who were dying, about dying. Telling them the truth, giving them the dignity to make end of life choices, etc. She wasn’t afraid to talk about these things, she stirred bees nests all over in the medical world. Dr’s called her “Dr Death”, despised her, they wanted to “protect” their patients from “the truth”. I never want to be protected from the truth. I am a firm believer in “The truth shall set me free”. It is not the truth that will kill me, it is the fear and lack of faith. That is not to say that I feel the right to plaster my “truth” in the faces of others. I just do not want to be denied the opportunity to talk about my feelings, my experiences.
I apologize if this blog has upset you, or stirred up feelings that you do not want to feel, the topic is unpopular and dark. I am not depressed, or even upset. I am however tired, and as stated earlier, all my defenses are down and the thought processes just fly like live wires, thus my fingers.
I just want to leave you with this thought. We look at births as such joyous occasions. We celebrate birthdays yearly. When someone dies I have witnessed within my own family that you don’t talk about the deceased, or rarely. Perhaps its from the emotional pain, and if you do, well, I am a minority here. The time I spent in the hospital last week, and the couple of days that I spent afraid, and in dark corners was not fun, but coming out of it and coming home, it all really made me appreciate so much more, all that I do have in my life… and recognizing and again, acknowledging and appreciating that it is the simple little things in my life that bring me the most pleasure. Again I am in awe of the outpouring of love and support of those that reached out to me when I asked for help, and yet again I am in amazement of the strength, fortitude and yearning of the human spirit. This is all GOOD stuff! If I had not gone thru this difficult and trying experience, perhaps I would not be as respectful and appreciative as I am at this very moment of all my own life. So after getting out of the dark corner, dusting myself off, I choose to be in the lighted, brighter spots, those which bring me the most joy… From darkness comes light…. I will acknowledge the darker corners, honor my thoughts and feelings, but I will empower those areas that bring me light, hope, love…. I grow from all aspects of my life….
I will remind myself that the seeds, thus vital roots of flowers and plants grow in cool dark soil, but when they expand above that to the sunlight, they flourish and blossom. Both darkness and light are necessary for its existence.
I love my life!