Early on Dr. Allderdice had me fill out a whole page of questions, and sign it. One of the Questions was “How committed are you to your healing?” He was asking for a percentage. I said 100%. So when I feel whiny about taking 25 pills everyday, or doing hydrotherapy in the shower (which means ending a hot shower with 30 seconds of cold water) I take a deep breath and remind myself that I choose to do this. The questions Dr. Allderdice asked, and had me sign, help hold me accountable.
Some days I give myself a pass- I know that my capacity for resiliency is only so big- and that if I use it up plunging into icy water for 30 seconds I may not have enough left over to cope. The days my hair was really falling out for instance I didn’t take the cold plunge. Usually, however, I am able to stay on course, because I choose to be 100% committed to my healing. Today while I was taking the pre-infusion dose of steroids, Joe raised his glass of water in salute, his toast – “100%” – helping me to celebrate a thing I actively choose to do. I choose not to think of myself as a victim in this.
Staying on course is easiest when I feel good. The days I wake up feeling sick, or sad or weepy, or just really tired, keeping on board with my various “Healing Tasks” may be all I get done, or maybe only partially done. This past week, my supposed “Green Week of highest function”, I had to abandon my hopes for what I wanted to accomplish. We all four have had colds, as I am sure do many others in this land. I needed to listen to my body, and take naps when the Fatigue came knocking. A few days it played out a bit like having a case of narcolepsy. At such low times when my resiliency is eroded, as is my mood- I may not feel like a victim- but I do feel grumpy and often have a sense of grief. I am so grateful to the Nurse who first spoke to me about Resiliency versus Toughness. Strategizing for the long haul around resiliency means being gentle with myself when I have bad days. Being gentle with myself means that I get to feel all my feelings, even the ones that are not within the realm of “Good Attitude.”
We head into PDX for the fourth Chemo treatment tomorrow. From what I hear, the 4th, 5th and 6th treatments will likely be progressively more difficult. Right now I feel ready to do the work of transmuting the poisons into healing potions. The friendly nurse lets me write little intention messages on my IV bags before she hangs them up. It gives me a sense of powerfulness- it transforms the drugs into something more lovingly potent. I also feel hopeful that the TCM herbs, and various Naturopathic supplements will continue to help me through this. The love, prayers and support of all kinds being directed at us from our beloveds, have tremendous power as well. Good Attitude and Resiliency do not translate into being unrealistic- however there is room for hope, even when being realistic about what I am facing.