I think, as my mom is constantly struggling with her cancer and dealing with holding herself together, she is trying to do whatever she can to keep moving forward. I talked to her last night and she said, “Kacie, I’m going to write a book”. I said, “go for it mom”. So now, after she plugs in to her Lymphedema machine, she is writing and journaling in her book. She read me the first page, I couldn’t help but say, “Well damn mom, that’s pretty good”, and now I can’t wait to share with you what she written. It’s sad but it’s really good! She is such a fighter. Yesterday, I called her and she had just finished walking amongst the hot pine trees in the hot 115-degree heat. I said, “mom don’t you think it’s really hot to be doing that”. She said, “its good for my Lymphedema”. You never know what you are going to get when you talk to her or see her and by all means, there is no telling what is going to come out of her mouth!
She (including dad and myself) has been greatly impacted by chemo, the cancer itself, and all of the other ailments she is subject to picking up due to this horrible fight we’re fighting – together. Our lives have been altered, dramatically, as a result of this illness and its challenges. I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, as we just recently arrived back from the cancer treatment center. This visit was one of “those visits”, as we discovered the cancer has recurred in a spot on her lung. Her doctor assured us of their plan of action which includes a more powerful chemo which she will have to take via an IV bag, versus the pills she has been coughing down.
I find myself saying, “I want my (our) life back”. I feel like I’m a stranger to myself and I can’t even imagine the pain my mom is holding onto. From the simplest of things that change our schedule, to the limited ability to feel like we are participating in life, touches everyone involved. I guess it is just part of the package deal of cancer.
1. If we can talk to our significant other, our family, our friends, our caregivers and share our feelings and struggles, we can be comforted, reassured, and validated that our reactions and emotions are totally expected, totally accepted, and really understandable.
2. Take each day as it comes. Learn to accept a day spent in bed (or days spent in bed), a day when you can poke around a bit and then rest, a day when you feel up to taking a ride or a walk, or one of those days that are gifts – when you feel pretty good and can do a few things. And know that you are loved, understood, and not alone.
3. Your attitude is what helps gets us through this.
4. Recording the good in your day might help you elevate and brighten your mood and sharpen your observation skills as you begin to appreciate everything with new eyes.
5. Pretend! I know this sounds silly, but picture how you want to be, and act as if you already were!