healing bubble

sea lion showing in waterfall

Photo by Courtney Matthews

The past five weeks I’ve been in a healing bubble since my discharge from the hospital. It’s been about eating, achievements and sleeping and the r’s of recovery (as I’m calling them)–

  • Restore – having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being.
  • Reboot – the act or an instance of shutting down and restarting something
  • Rest – to be free from anxiety or disturbance

The hardest part has been getting to know AND loving the “new me”. Sometimes it gets incredibly frustrating just navigating day by day, but I’m still laughing 😛🙃

achievements

I’ve taken to marking any progress as “achievements” as for most of them it’s relearning to do what I already know or should be able to do.

  • Cooking/feeding  myself
  • Personal care [sponge baths – showers (with Vince’s help/overseeing me)]
  • Getting dressed [underwear!!, socks, pants, t-shirts]
  • Typing (brain short-circuits)
  • Expressing myself (brain short-circuits)
short-circuits

I still have short-circuits between my brain and my fingers/mouth.

Examples

  • The act of handwriting requires slowness and concentration – from the content of what gets written to the actual formation of letters
  • Typing is by far the easiest; backspace and you can fix what you didn’t want – the trick is to catch the problem before posting/hitting “send”
  • Recently, I was trying to find a word, I just kept throwing out words until I hit on the correct one: air, flow, exhaust, fan, fresh…the word I wanted and ultimately blurted out was “circulation”

quality/quantity

A few times over the past months, I’ve had medical professionals mention “quality of life” when we discuss treatment options. I’ve also had a friend or two mention retirement or just sick leave/long term disability. I’ve been a little bit miffed by the suggestion of what I should be doing, rather than asking me what I want and respecting my choices.

For some people living with cancer, the amount of time they have is very important. To be able to have this time, you may be willing to put up with treatment side effects that are very unpleasant or that last a long time.  [Like me.] You may be willing to have as many treatments as possible that could give you more time.

Or you may find that your priority is to feel well enough to do what is most important for you for as long as you can. Some people do not want to continue treatments for a long time, especially when the side effects stop them from enjoying life. You may feel that after several different treatments, you would rather have some time to enjoy your life without being in treatment.

What quality of life means to you may change over time. In my post forward, I said “There’s no other option than to move forward. Shutting down and sitting around feeling sorry for myself are not things I do. I can’t. There is still life to live. No matter how long that may be.” This has echoed what I said back at first diagnosis in 2006, and formed the basis of Thrive: cancer was part of my life, it wasn’t my whole life. I still needed to live.

What does this mean for me? While in 2006/2007 I was willing to lie on my bathroom floor after chemo treatments because of side effects, I may not be as willing today to do the same today. However, I am not unwilling to try, but apparently I now have limits (e.g., diarrhea).

Just putting it out there that I AM returning to work, gradually and part-time to start so that I take the time to rest and not get overly stressed. I appreciate structure in my life and the challenge that doing something gives my brain. Finally, while I owe nothing to anyone, I still want to contribute.

naps

Do you ever wish you had a magic “pause” button? There is an irony here, for a person who has struggled with sleep/adequate rest  pretty much my whole life, the body is a strange instrument – sleep is actually healing and so sleeping is “natural”. In fact, if I actually hit that fatigue ‘wall’ –  a point where I don’t question it’s nap time – it’s so freaking obvious: I become a zombie; lights are on but I’m not home.

status

So how am I actually doing?

  • Good days and bad days, as expected
  • Not as consistent as I would like 
  • Still wobbly; having  balance issues; Vince awesome at anticipating moments I really need support
  • Using a walker now to get from A to B
  • Still weakness on left side
  • Still very cautious about bending over
  • Still dealing with fatigue
  • Less dizziness/light -headedness than before, but occasionally rears its head

And that’s the most recent news.

3 thoughts on “healing bubble

  1. Kudos to you on returning to work part time. Be kind to yourself while you find the right balance between work and self-care . 💕 hugs

  2. More power to you my friend.
    No matter how hard today is, remember you’ll never have to do this day again!
    Much love, strength and positivity!
    💕💕
    K&A

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