Sunday, 23 December 2007

some thoughts

I always wondered how on earth people dealt with the news that they have cancer. Now I know. Or at least I am finding out.

The Armstrong books arrived yesterday, and I am half way through reading the first one, It's Not About the Bike. I won't lie. It isn't an easy read.

It's not easy to read because at this stage I know next to nothing about what I have. I don't know what I'm fighting - what type is it? Is it aggressive? Will it hurt? Or rather when will it stop hurting? I need to 'go back to school' and learn about diet, positive thinking, cancers and the drugs we have in our arsenal.

Yesterday I went out to the supermarket, and then to Nic's for a brew. It was a positive day and I was bright. More phone calls from Canada - this time Michelle, the cousin I grew up with as a sister until I was 7 and moved to the UK.

Today I woke up at 5 am in a blind panic. The pain was pretty unbearable in my left side and I went down stairs to warm the wheat-packs again.

Two things:

1. Fear: "I thought I knew what fear was, until I heard the words You have cancer. Real fear came with an unmistakable sensation: it was as though all the blood in my body started flowing in the wrong direction," writes Armstrong. How well he puts it - I can do no better. I think perhaps fear is going to be my biggest enemy. It's a hard one because it doesn't allow the mind to respond to logic once it takes hold - it cripples your thinking and leaves you cowering and gasping for breath.

So I put music on and dance now. I sing loudly. Anything to shut the fear out. I will not allow myself to be debilitated by fear, and I think Armstrong took the right approach by finding out all he could about his illness. I have decided that once the diagnosis is complete I will learn all I can about my particular case.

And then we fight.

2. Friends: What comes through in Lance Armstrong's story so far is the people he was surrounded by. People are sooooo important. The phone calls pick me up enormously, and being alone for too long is not good at all. It is difficult for me to admit, after being so independent, that I need everyone's support beyond measure. How do people survive this? Because they have support. Because they stay positive and they can only stay positive by having positive people around, constantly reminding you that this is going to be ok.

3. Mind: I know I said 2 things, but this is equally important. My mind tries its best to stay off topic - forget about things for a while. But half way through a film, you think, "I wonder how bad chemo will be?" At dinner time, mid swallow, you think, "I don't want to die." At bed time I imagine the tumour shrinking, being washed away like an island being eroded by the sea.
"Please go away," I tell it. "You really can't stay in here because you are hurting this body, and this body chooses to live."

This is bloody ridiculous. I haven't asked "Why me?" because there's no point. Why anyone? And no anger. I have no one to be angry at. There's just sadness and fear, and a hoping, wishing, praying, trying to believe-ing that this is all going to turn out fine, and I'll look back in 20 years and laugh at the absurdity of it all!

So... keep it coming - the success stories, the words of comfort, the pull-yourself-togethers, the fight fight fight thises - I need 'em all.


Anonymous said...

just stumbled on your blog by chance. Have not read anything beyond the first post. Just want to wish you well and am sure you will triumph over the disease. (btw I am a 51 yr old mother of two living in India)

Lane said...

Music, dancing and shouting are great. Read positive things, listen to positive things and scream positive things.

I also had a thought Lisa. In a previous incarnation I was a reflexology practitioner. I don't know if you've ever had it but the relaxation/boosting immune system benefits are fantastic. If you haven't already, please think about booking sessions. You can get one to come to your home but make sure they're properly trained and have strong thumbs. Really, they have to be able to really 'work' the feet.
Hot wheat packs on the soles of your feet, especially the balls of your feet and across for the lung area, will help with pain and grab anyone passing to massage that area too.
And green tea for boosting the immune system. Lots of it.

Postive vibes being beamed through the ether to you. Keep dancing xxx

Harriet said...

Has anyone sent you Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny by Michael Gearin Tosh? Here is a ridiculously long url which should take you to amazon to see it. I thought it one of the most inspiring books I had ever read. If you like the look of it please tell me your address and I will send you a copy.

Harriet said...

PS The url didn't come out properly! But you can just put his name into amazon and you will see it anyway.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I agree with Lane about the reflexology, if you can find a good practitioner it can be very beneficial. Can't remember if I've told you about this before, but there is a good practical technique for reducing the intensity of emotion that works on meridians in the same way as reflexology except that you can do it on yourself very effectively. Details here - there are lots of Americanisms but if you can wade through those then there's some good sensible practical advice. I was taught the technique by a counsellor, I suspect it's easier to learn from another human than from a website, but it's not particularly difficult. It seems bizarre at first but I can assure you that it works. It could help you to manage the fear.

SpiralSkies said...

Reiki is also amazing if you can find a practitioner nearby. If not, I can do distance healing... just email if you'd like to give it a whirl.

Hope your Christmas is filling your pot with joy.