Strength in Numbers
My favorite posts aren't the ones where I plan out and think about what will resonate with the most people, rather they are the ones where I just jump on in to talk about or describe something that I've been working through and this post is no different...diving in here, let's go.
When I found out that I had cancer, it seriously took me about 8 months (yes, months!) to get to the place where I felt comfortable to just talk about it with just anyone. I had my family and a handful of people in the know, and that is about all that I could handle at that time. I guess it just took me a long time to figure out how to deal....hell, I'm still figuring out how to deal, but I'm just way more open about the process. Add to that, being publicly vulnerable doesn't really bother me anymore. The veil, my friends, has been lifted. I guess it took rock bottom, that damn ICU bed, to bring me to this place where I truly no longer have the energy to deal with extraneous shit that might normally weigh me down. My journey, my cancer demons, my goals, my aspirations....this takes just enough of my headspace that trying to hide any faucet of my life out of fear for how it might make me look to others, seems like a complete waste of my time.
With that being said, why have I found this part of my recovery that I'm currently in so challenging? I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to lose this medicinal, cancer related, menopause induced weight that is stubborn as hell. It's like seriously dragging me DOWN. When I say I'm doing all the things, I'm doing ALL THE THINGS I know to do to put myself, my body back into the happy place I once was in. My motives are different this go around, however. Do I want to look good? Well, obviously, but more importantly I want to create this vessel of strength and purity that cancer would be a fool to mess with again. I run, I walk, I HIIT, I run the stadium steps, I meditate, I journal. I even work with a health coach. My family jokes that "mom is eating tree bark again". Yeah, that's me...eating the weird, yet very satisfying, from the earth kinds of foods...and nothing really seems to be working. Positive self talk, check. Love my body for what it's been through, yep, check. It's all starting to take its toll on. me if I"m being really honest. I do know that this challenge is all about rediscovering myself and this new, odd body I find myself in and how to make her "tick". I'm in no way giving up, I'm just giving into this feeling of frustration and sadness that I"m in and acknowledging that this, too, is a bit of a struggle. Perhaps what is amplifying this current state of feeling utter defeat, is my upcoming surgery. In less than two weeks I will have. a second, hopefully final ,reconstructive surgery. My doctor has told me repeatedly that it is astounding that my body has healed as well as it has following my sepsis/organ failure episode. This new surgery will repair what went a little wrong after that whole debacle and send me on my path to full recovery. Awesome. I feel happy, blessed and fortunate that this is where I'm at in my journey, but I'm also a little scared and not really looking forward to healing....yet again. My last major surgery went so wrong that I had to regain my strength to even walk. I couldn't lift my arms up over my head for the longest time. Here I am working out like a mad woman trying to regain my strength (figuratively and literally) and in two weeks time, I won't be able to do half of what I can now. See... defeat and yet another setback.
Contrary to what this may seem like, I really don't like to dwell on the negative stuff here, but I do know I need to deal with it. So in this "feeling less than" moment I had found myself in, I did what that newly diagnosed version of myself could not. I reached out. A little over a year ago, I joined an online community of Breast Cancer Survivors. It is called My BC Team. It's a social network for breast cancer survivors and what a life saver it has been! I literally just type in how I'm feeling or what's going on and within minutes I have responses from fellow warriors and we share advice, experiences...we connect. We help each other through the mucky waters that is survivorship. To be honest, I haven't really written anything on the site for awhile so I was a little nervous that I would go unnoticed...that I would be left here in this weird state of self doubt all by myself. Nevertheless, I submitted an entry. I wrote in my post how I'm feeling and how stupid it feels to be upset about something so shallow. I also wrote that I feel so broken and ashamed that I just can't seem to get this figured out. These women raised me up and made me feel heard and also gave me hope. Man, a little hope goes a long, long way. As I woke up today ready to take my health and fitness journey by storm once again, I reread the advice and comments from my support team. I feel empowered and I feel like even with my upcoming surgery hurdle, I am capable of achieving what I've set my heart and mind on. I can and will be that version of myself that I long to be. It might take time, sure, but she's within my reach. I'm so incredibly grateful for the support these strangers have given me. There is so much good in this world if we are willing to put ourselves out there to find it. The other thing that struck me as I looked back at my profile on My BC, was how bold and strong I came across. That is ME! In the moments where I feel "less than", I need to acknowledge that it is just a moment. Big picture is I am a force of love, gratitude and have this freakin' ability to turn what may seem dismal into pure gold. Super power, if you may. I just can't give up. I'm sharing with you the answers to the "get to know you" questions that are published on my profile at MY BC that I find I'm in complete awe of....that girl...that one that answered these questions that way?! She is strong, wise and very capable. I need to embrace her and stop working against her. We are a team.
My life has changed in this way... I am seriously grateful for every single day on this earth. The thought of not being able to raise my children haunts me and makes me take life a day at a time with a much more grateful heart than before. I realize that I've been given a second chance at life and I want to embrace that and not have any regrets. It's a tall order, but I'm determined to figure out my passions and what makes me happy and be so incredibly true to that. When I'm having a bad day, I like to... Run, listen to music or an inspirational podcast, write on my blog, go on an adventure, enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book or just be with my friends/family. Life after cancer for me means the highs are really high, but the lows are really low. I cry more than I used to and I go after things I want with more determination than ever. A rollercoaster to say the least!
She seems like she has it all figured out, right? Well, let me tell you that she most certainly is a work in progress, but her spirit and light will help her through even the darkest of times. So, my advice to all of you today, is just what that smart version of. me wrote all that time ago...ride this rollercoaster we call life with grace, determination, gratitude and joy. That fact that we get to feel the high highs AND the low lows means we. are. living! What a gift that truly is. "Do you", dream big and reach out if you need some help. You are worth the greatest gifts and purest, most unconditional love that this precious life has to offer. Make sure you are not only seeking it, but giving it to yourself....Keep On Killing It-M