I’ve just passed the anniversary of commencing chemotherapy treatment. Whilst I thought there was no residual grief, I discovered there was quite a lot of sadness still there. I really wanted to get on an write this blog and I couldn’t. So I’ve taken a few weeks out to be kind to myself and just sit with the sadness rather than try and resist or fix it.
MY JOURNAL The good news is that it is passing to the point where I have been able to open the journal I wrote last year and am really enjoying reading it, hearing my voice as it was then. Here is an excerpt from 28 June 2012.
“It has been 8 days since I last wrote. A lot has transpired and very little has. I still have the drain (from the lymph node removal) in and am not coping well emotionally. I feel upset more and more. I know I need to speak with someone and I’m not sure who. I will ring one of the breast support groups. I want to be empowered around what I am dealing with. Perhaps I should just have a good cry and get out all the pent up emotions – the sadness, the grief, the longing to be my old self, the desire for vitality and for a sense of purpose. I feel I am in a recovery limbo.”
GETTING SUPPORT Soon after, I rang the Breast Care Nurse at The Mater and found the ear and support I needed. What I was feeling 14 days after the operation was quite normal. I had found a ‘new normal’ and realised that I would be looking at a new normal for some time. My new normal was not working, going to the doctor several times a week and being loving and kind to myself – a very foreign place for me.
I’m a great believer in synchronicity. Around this time there was a segment on Catalyst about the benefits of walking when on chemotherapy. I have been a walker, taking a daily morning walk for a long time. Walking keeps my mind, body, spirit in equilibrium.
Before starting chemo, I decided I’d resume my outdoor exercise programme. I live on Sydney’s northern beaches, one of the most beautiful places in the world, a perfect place to walk to rejuvenate a sad heart and recuperate my body. My husband and I started the daily practice of walking together. If I wasn’t well enough to walk home, he would get the car and drive me home. He was and is one of my ‘Angels’.
I discovered wasn’t on my own and I didn’t need to do this on my own. My mother, who lives in Melbourne and has been very unwell for several years, started to ring me every day to see how I was. Up until that point I’d been ringing her daily. My sister from London, whom I love very much and had missed since she moved there, rang and told me she would be arriving in a couple of days. She stayed for 5 days and did everything she could for me. She shopped, cooked, cleaned, drove me to the doctor, counselled me and almost read my mind. It was a gift.
I was beginning to discover how much love and generosity there is in the world and how much I am loved. Grief transformed into LOVE. My sadness of the last few weeks has passed. Just being with it was perfect!