Embracing Life and Moving Forward
I just saw this heading -- Embracing Life and Moving Forward -- on a Web page. It resonated with me. It is something I have always tried to do, but I'm having a rough time of it right now.
The heading was part of a page I'd been looking at about sex and intimacy after a cancer diagnosis. I had listened to a couple of webinars on the topic, trying to research enough so that I could write a useful article for you. But, this post isn't about sex and cancer. Hopefully, that one will be coming. This one is simply about embracing life and moving forward.
Priortize living my life
It sounds so easy. And, for me, it has always been something that I just seemed able to do. Even when I learned I had stage IV lung cancer, my only question for my brand new oncologist was, "Can I keep playing agility with my dogs?" He was dumbfounded by my response, but I wanted to know if I could keep on living ... embracing life.
And, embrace life I have for the majority of my 65 years. I love to laugh; I love to have fun. Most of us do, I am sure. But, I think a lot of us are searching for that old self -- the self before cancer, that self that enjoyed smelling the flowers and dancing and singing and enjoying just being alive.
Moving forward after heartbreak
As a disclaimer, cancer didn't steal my joy, but losing my son unexpectedly and suddenly several months ago sure has. His death took a lot of my heart, most of my laughter, and even my will to live. Right after he died, I thought, "Why bother with continuing cancer treatments? I have no reason to keep on keeping on."
So, anyway, I'm coming at this from a little different direction, perhaps, but we've ended up at the same spot: a place where it is difficult to embrace life and move forward. I'm no psychologist ... and that may become painfully clear as we move on ... but I thought I might share with all of you some of what I'm trying to do to reclaim my joy.
Maybe some of my ideas will resonate with you. Maybe you can share some of your own ideas with us. Maybe we can all help one another find our smiles again.
Doing something for me
One thing I do is try to stay busy. I try to keep my "to do" list full of tasks that interest me. Right now, I'm trying to put together blog pages about my recent trip to Israel and I'm studying to become a certified aromatherapist.
I took the trip after my son passed away, but I started my aromatherapist studies before he died. I'm moving forward with them, but certainly not at the same pace as before nor with the enthusiasm. My hope is that if I just keep pushing myself that maybe, just maybe, some of my passion will return.
Taking that trip to Israel was a godsend for me. I struggled with whether to go after my son died. Was it inappropriate to go on the trip of a lifetime less than two months after burying my only child? Some people told me not to go, others, including my oncologist, encouraged me to go.
It ended up being perfect. For 10 days, I was completely away from cancer and from my broken life. My smile and enthusiasm returned, if only for a brief while. That tells me that they're not gone, they're just hidden beneath the grief.
There are good days and hard days
Yesterday, I woke up prepared to write a couple of articles, get something done on my Israel Web pages, and study a little aromatherapy. Then I sat down at my computer. And, all I really wanted to do was cry. I was completely disinterested in anything on my task list.
I struggled through for an hour or so. I tried to write the Intimacy blog, but it didn't flow. I looked at the tabs open on my computer for my aromatherapy school and just couldn't make myself click on one. The passion was missing to work on photos from my trip. I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep.
Finally, I decided that I would watch a movie. There are some days that I don't do much of anything else. I watch movie after movie after movie (or, bing watch TV series on Netflix). It was the best I could do yesterday.
Today is a new day. And, one more time, I'm going to try to embrace life and move forward. Will you join me?
Where have you found the most support during your lung cancer journey?