The last year has been difficult. Four surgeries and a cancer diagnosis have taken a toll on me. I wasn’t always able to get in front of the computer. But I didn’t give up writing. I may not have been writing with regularity but I did carry my notebooks and pens and wrote in them. I brainstormed in the hospital. Some of the ideas conceived on the pain meds aren’t fit for public consumption. But I did keep my brain percolating.
When something negative happens, I like to find the good parts of the situation. I thought about what I learned this past year and came up with this list. Though some of these have been said before, I found out they really are true.
You can get through this. Even if you think you can’t.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell on what might happen. Set short-term goals to get from one thing to another. Only think about the next step in the process. Example: Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday.
You are stronger than you think. I found that I could take a lot more than I thought. So can you.
There are many people who love you and who would miss you. People tell you how much you mean to them when they think they will lose you. One friend sent me a utube video of friends who shaved their heads for the friend who had cancer. She told me she was glad she didn’t have to do that for me. This was one of the handful of times that I cried. But it was a good cry.
Don’t worry so much about small things. Like cream, what’s genuinely important rises to the top and the trivial sinks to the bottom.
You are not in control. The more tightly you hold on, the less control you have. All you control freaks, please take note.
Reach out to others when you need them. I often feel badly for asking for favors. Learn to do that when you need it. Plus, others will often volunteer before you even have to ask.
Let yourself deal with your issues in your own time and in your own way. Realize that you will be dealing emotionally with this long after it is over. Accept the fact that facing your frailty can be a long process.
I want to write more than ever. Looking forward to being able to get back to my normal writing schedule kept me going. Focus on the things you love, and visualize doing them.
I enjoy helping other people. I want to pay forward the wonderful things that people did for me since I realize that it won’t be possible to pay each and everyone back in kind.
People and things that I love, I love more deeply. People and things that I dislike, I dislike with less intensity. I focus on what I truly care about. What I don’t like, I’m able to let it roll off my back more easily.
Be careful with what you consider important. You only have a certain amount of time on this earth. Spend it doing things that are important to you.
People act differently when they hear you have cancer. You have to show them that it’s permissible not to. My family didn’t treat me as they normally do. You have to be as normal as possible and honest about your feelings and it will help them to do so as well.
It’s good to cry when you need to. It loosens the knot in your stomach and eases the tension. But don’t let it go on too long. Otherwise, you won’t be able to function. Keeping your usual routine is key.