Rebuilding Me

Almost daily, I’m encouraged to “keep fighting!” and, while I sincerely appreciate the emboldening intention, I’m always a bit perplexed.

I’m not fighting. In fact, I’ve never fought less.

During my 12 precarious years at Nortel, I was fighting. During my various vicious family torments, I was fighting. During my struggles with sundry insecure, thoughtless or just plain nasty humans, I was fighting.

But I’m not fighting now.

I’m healing. I’m nestling. I’m carefully rebuilding my body, my mind, my life; pulling things out, examining them, deciding what goes back in, and where.

The scalpel, chemo and gamma-rays do my fighting while I’m absolutely busy cultivating wellness and peace.

I am grateful to the citizens and politicians who have fought for free health care, to the scientists who continue to fight for cures, to the doctors, nurses and technicians who fight fatigue to care, to the taxpayers who fight daily to earn their OHIP contributions and to the many cancer patients before me who have fought for their lives as treatments continue to be tested, tweaked and tuned.

And I’m grateful for the opportunity to build a happier, healthier me.

Related Links:
Writing in the face of death

Of Power and Poison

Words of wisdom from The Secret Garden (a recovery must-read):

In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can’t be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts — just mere thoughts — are as powerful as electric batteries — as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live
.

So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical, half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring, and also did not know that he could get well and stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new, beautiful thoughts began to push out the old, hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins, and strength poured into him like a flood… Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought come into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

Where you tend a rose, my lad
A thistle cannot grow.

The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911.

Perspective

As I shuffled out for my jog today I happened upon this scene.

I stood shivering in my skimpy shell and sneakers, paying my respects. A hearse, limosines and a ribbon of 4000 paramedics, firefighters and police officers snaked by. I watched swaths of red, yellow and black; took in bagpipes, drums, and trudging boots; and beamed waves of gratitude and strength to four fatherless children, a widow and the thousands who face the same possibility daily.

A two centimetre tumor and three impacted nodes is a pretty puny problem.

Photo: The Ottawa Citizen — Honouring Const. Eric Czapnik.

What, Me Worry?

I’ve biked across this country, coast to coast. I’ve spoken hard truths, when most wouldn’t dare. I’m not afraid of the things that don’t scare me……It’s just that most things do.

Fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of judgment, fear of change. Fear of rejection, fear of responsibility, fear of being misunderstood, fear of loss. I’ve bypassed a lot in life, thanks to fear.  I’ve shed vats of tears and spent hours in anguish replaying hurtful scenarios and guarding myself from social snipes. I’ve lived small and safe. I’ve let fear rule.

Yet, here I am dealing with a life-threatening disease — facing surgeries, injections, toxic chemicals, long-term side effects, loss of income, mortality — and I’m taking it pretty well. I’ve cried more over a single nasty coding bug and anguished more over any of a million family affronts than I have during this entire challenge to date.

And almost daily I’m told I’m brave.

Is it the lack of malicious-intent? The lack of choice? The fabulous team that’s supporting me?
Who knows?

My social anxiety certainly remains intact and  I still get stung by the handful of relatives who continue to snipe or snub me. As much as I’d like to, I haven’t really changed since my diagnosis.

I can’t explain it.  But I sure am grateful.