Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Coming to Terms

A week or two ago, I was feeling a little sad about the limitations I have been experiencing with regard to playing volleyball and/or doing other activities in the evening. I was mad that I'm having to give up something I enjoy. I resented cancer for taking that away.

I'm trying to let go of that disappointment and sadness. It's sorta like regret for a past action - it's comparing myself now to what myself was a couple of years ago.

A lot of what I'm reading these days, like Deepak Chopra's "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul", Thich Naht Nanh's "The Miracle of Mindfulness", Ernest Holmes's "This Thing Called You", Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love", and Cheryl Richardson's "The Unmistakable Touch of Grace", advise people to learn to live in the moment, to be aware of what you're doing, to be present, etc. Also, in the book "Anticancer" by David Servan-Schreiber, the author states that cancer thrives in an inflammatory "terrain" (that is, your body). He advocates a variety of activities that are designed to counteract the inflammation that cancer likes, which include diet, physical activity, a healthy emotional state, and a peaceful, serene environment.

So, with that in mind, I'm letting go of the disappointment - that emotion doesn't need to stay in my body to increase the inflammation. I decided this morning that I needed to focus instead on the positive and on what really matters, my priorities. At this particular moment, my focus is on my health, my family, and my work.

I'm excited about the things that I'm reading about health and spirituality. I'm trying to incorporate some if not most of the strategies discussed in the books. It's interesting reading and it makes me think about a lot of things. It's not only interesting for my health but also from an anthropological perspective. I can probably use some of what I'm learning for work-related research. The book Anticancer seems to corroborate what the UW immunotherapy trial is trying to do.

I'm also excited about my family: I've enjoyed having my folks and my brother in the house. I never particularly liked living alone and now that they are here and we've adjusted to the new living situation, it's nice. Dad has been doing work on the yard; mom and dad have been cooking (yay!); my brother's around to help with computer stuff and we watch NCIS together. So, projects are underway here - and I finally finally finished grouting my mosaic and I put sealant on it tonight. It may soon be in my yard on the pedestal! Now, on to the next art project: I found out the other day that the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is coordinating a beadwork quilt in which cancer survivors bead squares as part of the design. I think I may work on that. Eddie is also doing well in school; he enjoys having my family around. My parents' dog is sleeping with him, too. He likes that.

And, I finally got my head into work. There's a lot of things going on with my department (mostly good), and several of my projects are moving forward. I still have to work on two particular projects which enabled me to have this term off. But there's been good news - I have a fellowship for next winter that buys me out of two classes - I will use the time to work on a book. I'm excited about my research projects . . . now I just need time to work on them!

In the end, it's a matter of using my energy to heal and to enjoy life. I still enjoy life if I don't play volleyball. Volleyball isn't the only thing enjoyable about life. So, focus on what I can do and what I enjoy and what I'm excited about. It's all good.


Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer said...

Such a good entry that speaks to many women! All you can do is your best--it's important to remember that. Thanks for the reminder!

Liz Kreger said...

Good that you’re learning to let things go. Fantastic attitude. I’ll have to check out some of those books you mentioned.

There are a great many activities that I had to give up, Dee. When you find that you’re directing your energies toward getting better, you find that you don’t miss some things so much. Good list of the important matters, i.e., family, friends, work, getting better.

It sounds like your home life is really falling into a harmonious pattern. Nice.

Carver said...

Hi Dee,

I can relate so well to this post. It took me a long time to get over being angry that I couldn't run or swim laps or do other things I enjoyed. Also, the following weight gain after changing my activity level so much pissed me off. I'm finally able to let go of a lot of that anger.

I'm glad you letting go of disappointment. I know how hard that is. Of course our situations are different and I'm very fortunate not to have dealt with recurrences but still to an extent I can understand your sadness and your trying to deal with that.

I'm glad you are enjoying having your family with you. Also good that you are getting your head into work. Take care, Carver

Dee said...

@Yoga, Liz, and Carver, Thank you for your comments!

And, Liz and Carver, I think the two of you know more than me how much you've given up in terms of your former activities because of the cancer. Liz, you've been a great role model for letting go of stuff and just moving forward, not looking back. I am channeling you when I let go! Carver, I am glad that you've let go of the anger - and while you're "cancer free", I know that you have had major major side effects from your treatment - and you rightly have a lot to be angry. Hopefully, the medical establishment can learn from our experiences and try to figure out how to treat us without leaving us with long-term side effects. That's my hope!