Respect Yourself

Wow.  I have been totally MIA from the blogosphere all week.  What happened???  I’ll tell ya – It was summer weather and visiting friends.

Just this morning the latest troupe of visiting helpers hit the road.  The house seems very quiet now.  Having my girlfriend V here all week with her 2 1/2 year old munchkin Miss C (one of Miss M’s dearest friends from Bowen Island) was a beautiful thing.  Just watching Miss M &  Miss C sing “Row Row Your Boat” together in the bathtub…  Negotiate over stuffed animals…  and run around on the grass in their socks, under the sun…  It was a joy to behold.

Of course the other side of the visitor coin is that I often spend so much time entertaining, sightseeing, and creating memories that there is not much time left over for blogging.  Or managing the day-to-day of our lives.  Or resting.  And as much as I need and LOVE the visits from family and friends, sometimes it’s nice to reclaim our home for a week.  Just me, hubby, and Miss M.

I think part of the struggle that arises when people visit surrounds the preconceived expectations we all have.  I expect to keep living my life as I always did.  Cancer be damned.  And my visitors expect to see a sickly looking cancer patient who doesn’t get off the couch much.  Neither are completely true.

The reality is that I am doing a pretty good job of living my life as usual.  My energy is decent.  I have a healthy appetite.  The side effects from the chemo are minimal and livable (hair loss, nail pain, occasional nausea & fatigue, nose bleeds).  But if I live my life carefully and healthfully I rarely have pain and look pretty “normal”.  I can’t even tell you how many times people have told me (with a surprised tone) “Wow! You look so good”  Or…  “But you don’t look sick”.

The cancer forces me to take care of myself.  Before I was diagnosed I could push my body and mind pretty far and still rebound.  Now, the slope is much more slippery.  A full day of just doing lots of normal fun stuff can push my body over the edge.  Case in point – Friday’s trip to Cincinnati with my girl Miss V and two antsy toddlers.  By the time we got home I was having chest pains, leg pains, and was beyond exhausted.  These are the moments I remember that I do have cancer.

Things have changed and I need to figure out this balancing act that is my new life.

To clarify my previous writing…  I do not believe that I am to blame for my cancer.  There is no blame.  I just recognize that my life, my body, and my spirit has been very taxed the last few years.  My defenses were down.  The cancer saw an opportunity to move in and it went for it.

But I also believe that with the actions I take now I can reclaim my life.  Re-charge my battery.  Leave no room for disease to grow.

Our bodies always speak to us.  The problem is most of us are not listening.  Whether it’s cancer, back pain, migraines, excess weight, disease…  It’s all a big red flag trying to get your attention.  Trying to tell you something is not right.  Trying to get you to look inside.  Get in touch.  And respect your body, your life, and yourself.

Peace.  – T