I've been really sad over the past week - the infection scared me way more than the cancer even did, because it happened so quickly and was such a surprise. I really thought that I had things under control, and suddenly I SO did not...suddenly I was not looking at everything getting better but everything spiraling down, and fast. I also really, really felt that I failed, and no one is harder on myself than me if I think I've done something wrong. Now, I probably did not do anything wrong - I was so careful and followed all the instructions that I received without fail, but the fact that I could get an infection where others do not get an infection seemed like a failing to me, like I must have done something to make it happen. And then, I might as well have gotten out the whip and started lashing my own back, I was so mad at myself. I am coming to terms with the fact that these things just happen - maybe that side was just open so long during surgery (I did have the 3 nodes out, the tumor wasn't teeny, the fascia had to come out, and then I had to get sewn back up) that I got something then. In any case, I'm trying my hardest to only look forward. But then I get mad that looking forward means another surgery to get the expander put back in! And more recovery! And more lying around! And I might go insane!
Luckily, I had some good thoughts at the start of this and I need to just double back to them. I had thought I would have to develop other talents and hobbies during this year, but then I was feeling so great I was excited if I wouldn't have to develop them. I had thought I would watch more TV. Plenty of people watch Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, Oprah, Martha Stewart, and whatever is on from 12:30- 2:00am and it doesn't cause an identity crisis. It has just been a lot for me to watch ALL of those shows, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, this past week. Oh, and the View, where the hosts were asking the question, " What would you do if you couldn't watch TV for 3 months?" and were all flabbergasted...and I was trying to count up the number of times I've gone 3 months without watching TV in my lifetime and LOST COUNT.
What do you do if you no longer recognize yourself in the person you have become? I suppose you try to find yourself in new things, if you are smart like that. I personally have been spending too much time during the past week mourning all the things I can't be doing instead of doing things I can do and just haven't ever done before, and enjoying them. I had promised myself to try to be good and enjoy those new things, but I also think it is all well and good to make those promises when you are feeling healthy and great!, and another to fulfill those promises when your body is failing you, you can't move without something hurting, and you are afraid.
So, it is time to try a little bit harder to rein my thoughts back in and to enjoy life even when things aren't great. I don't appreciate people telling me to think positively, but I know I should be doing that. Here are some extra little ideas I learned in this week for myself for the next bad time - which I am sure is just around the corner -
- Instead of saying I can't absolutely do the things I really enjoy, maybe I can just do them to smaller extents. For example, I may not be able dig out and create a bunch of new gardens this year, but there are little gardening tasks that I can do - all the little picking and sorting and plucking and journaling doesn't take much muscle. Before this week, I thought I would rather just not engage at all in some things until I could do them the way I wanted to do them, but now I think I will just take what I can get.
- I have to remember that there are so many worse things to have and people deal with them so much better than I have dealt with this disease this week. I am lucky that I was genetically programmed to get this disease and not something worse. Here is a disease that can be cut out of some organs I no longer need, and has a very real possibility of going away...and a disease that is not unheard of. It might be harder to be brave if I felt like there was no plan, no good survivor stories to hear, and I had to plot my own path.
- Lastly, adjustment is a good word...it implies pushing forward, pulling back, and finally getting to the new position and settling in. Sometimes it is easy to forget the pulling back part, or to resist against it, but it is all part of the process. I'm still adjusting to my diagnosis...maybe since I pulled back a little last week I am making progress.
- I'm thinking of a pumpkin seed I started this January, which is currently growing in my kitchen. The plant is not in it's optimal growing situation - a pot in a kitchen is nothing like full sun, good garden soil and nature - but that plant is just stretching itself further to get to the sun. I need to stretch just a little bit further, too.