Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coping after Cancer: ostrich, simple, find a way


The Ostrich's methods of putting their head in the sand to avoid danger is an urban myth. But, it presents a great metaphor of the feeling that I have had the last year to be able to cope with all of the pressures of just getting through each day.

 As the chemo fog starts to lift a little bit at a time I can look back and I realize that my coping and survival method was to just get by with my head in the sand. Everything that I do now after cancer takes a lot more energy, every decision I make depletes my finite source of energy. So, don't ask me so many questions you already know the answer to......

I am a changed person and I am not always liking the new me, but I am learning to live the new life.

I make a written or a mental list each day of the things that need to be done. The majority of times something gets in the way or makes ticking an item off the list impossible.  If this happens too many times, my energy is gone. Frustration sets in. My level of patience decreases and I become irritable and short-tempered. Not so fun for me or the people around me when I can't explain why something seemingly so easy to do is nearly impossible for me at those times.

I have been taking each day as it comes. Checking off one or two things on my list and adding about 30 each day. Seems insurmountable at times.

Building up my energy is done by being with family and friends in a new or different environment. Thankfully we had a vacation to Mauritius in February. It was the first time we could get away and just enjoy being with each other since our cancelled trip last year when I got the cancer. Our trip had its challenges though as the first 24 hours were spent at the Gatwick Hilton because the plane was delayed one day. I was fuming because 15th of February 2014 was when I felt the cancer on my neck and the week I got diagnosed and now one year later, Thomson is giving us a shorter vacation. We made the best of it. It is not easy to shake off those pissed off feelings, it took a couple of days and a few Rum and lemon juice drinks.

Working out and eating well for 5 months and only losing 17 pounds.
Getting blood work done and supplements recommended from an alternative health place. (then being told by the GP that they could have done that for free)
Stressing about eating well
Not sleeping enough
Government authorities not understanding that I am getting things done as fast as I can.
Jumping through hoops to get my referral and translated medical reports submitted to get an appointment at the Royal Marsden for follow-up care.

Positives (now the fog is clearing):
I have submitted the annual report for my business and mostly cleared up any misunderstandings
Friends visiting from Sweden and getting to spend time with them and see new places in London
Discussion are in the works to sell my company in Sweden
I have a Fitbit Charge HR that helps me focus on eating and exercise
More friends are on the way to visit in the coming months (planning for their visit...)
Half-Century of living is coming up soon and I'm enjoying planning to celebrate that
Our cleaning ladies make my life a little easier (after 10 years of talking about getting some help)
Put an offer on a house
Peter doing the London to Paris Bike ride for Lymphoma Research
Eating more of a Mediterranean diet and trying to let go of the stress.
Intensive Spanish week coming up so the kids can practice their Spanish

MY FOCUS is to keep it simple (when I am not complicating things):

Sleep at least 7 hours a night
Eat well
Enjoy life
Drink more water
Hug the kids and hubby more than they want

Grateful to be alive. YES. Grateful for family. YES. Grateful for friends. YES. Grateful for living in London. YES. Grateful for sunny days. YES. Grateful for new adventures. YES. 

Just mulling over if I really want to get that 
tattoo.........BE BRAVE LOVE LIFE. 
Maybe it should be a present to myself? It can't possibly hurt more than Olga and the bone marrow test? How big should the writing be? Is writing with permanent marker the same thing?

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