Wednesday, October 26, 2011

welcome home.

the labyrinth I walked...where I let go a bit

I attended a 3 day Breast Cancer Retreat at Harmony Hill last week.  I am still processing a lot from that, it was the first thing I have done that was breast cancer related. I have never went to a support group, a therapist, or anything.........I think as a result, I placed a lot of expectations on what I would experience and though some fell flat--I believe the experience was transformative for me.  It is taking awhile for me to workout exactly how, but I can feel it coming together, so more about that to come.  I walked a labyrinth for the first time. The tree in the center was amazing and many of the people who had walked it before me left things in the bark of the tree.  I have had a worry-stone that I took with me from the day I went to the doctor when I felt the lump, to every surgery, every chemo, and it is always in my purse (just in case). I brought that stone with me and held it while walking the labyrinth.  And then I placed all that pain and worry that has been absorbed and rubbed into that stone, in the bark of this beautiful old tree, allowing it to take on the weight of the stone.  Then I walked back through the labyrinth with tears streaming down my face.

the view from the dining area at Harmony Hill

Harmony Hill--healing surroundings
While at the retreat we were asked to write a letter to ourselves, and then it would be mailed to us sometime in the future. I chose to not have my card mailed, I think it is something I need to read daily....and as usual, I bare it all, and am sharing it with all of you:

Dori. Well you survived, that is an accomplishment. I understand you now feel broken and are on a path of searching for how to fix it. When the tears come you are unaware of where they begin--how are you able to heal if you can't find a starting point? You are a big talker, "taking care of myself" making the time to be "healthy" ...bullshit. You can use the exercise bike all you want but you can't pedal away the tears. That gut-wrenching fear of your past and the unknown. You seek answers to questions you don't even know yet. You pray silently that your life will fall back together. Reality is that this is your life now--you need to figure it out. You faced death for the first time but you will face it again--move on!! Procrastination is for healthy people--you no longer have the luxury! Find your heart center, where is your spirit? How do you compromise money and spirit? Make a list, check it off--napping doesn't solve problems. True, that there is always tomorrow, but tomorrow may come with more shit than today. Make meaning in everyday. Explore healing with vibrance and spirit, enjoy the transformation that can happen when you tip the triangle of spirit, mind and body. Meditate daily, not to find answers, but to find yourself. The thoughts that get caught in your chest and bring tears to your eyes need to be processed--alone. Are you doing what you can to live life? Keep trying until you feel right-you will not be the same, but you can still feel like you. Embrace opportunity and relish in solitude. Personalities change and people come and go, surround yourself with love and support. Passion & Peace   Create a mantra and live the life you fought so hard for, don't "do" because you have to, "do" because if you don't your heart will break. Reduce the stress and worry--you will give yourself an ulcer. And you have had too many problems already. Life can be cruel, as you know all too well, you have to be motivated to create changes that will continue to sustain your body, mind and spirit. Finish that damn to-do list you have had running in your head for years--come on! Why do that to yourself? It is as though if you complete it there would be nothing to look forward too, that is a lie and as a result you are stuck with an extreme guilt that you bring on yourself--fucking ridiculous.  Get it done and move on to create a new to-do. You can have bad days, hell, I think you have earned a bad week or two, you have PTSD, you have anxiety mixed with bouts of depression, you are sometimes not in control--roll with it.  You were given a second change to view life through a lens most others will never see.  You have a bonded partner in life that most others don't. Surrounded by love and support you have the opportunity to heal and create. You have the safe-space to find the new you and get to know her, love her, and treat her mind, body and spirit with honor and respect. Life isn't about a clean house, check-marks on a to-do list, the amount of money in your bank account or what you do daily--life is a gift of spirit that can be taken away at anytime. As a result people fear change. In reality this change has created the gifts and space you needed to be the "you" that has always been within. Welcome home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I can always start again, tomorrow.

Happy 28th Birthday to me!

I had made a plan in my head that September was going to be the jumping off point to change. I was going to be more nurtuing to myself and to Scott. I was going to try and tame the crazy (HA) and really get down to business. Well, I realized that putting restrictions on things makes me anxious and I have made September one hell of a month, I am where I want to be, and I don't need a least not right now. I met with my new doc at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I love her. I don't just love her, I love all of it, the care, the plan, the honesty and the knowledge. I don't feel like I have to Google everything she says to be sure it is true, she is a breast cancer oncologist--there isn't a better place for me to be.

I have been holding in so much pain and terror that I wasn't even realzing. It was a heaviness in me that I felt, but wasn't sure where it orginiated from. When Scott and I left SCCA I was in hysterics, shaking, crying, blubbering up a storm, Scott had no idea was what going on (again with the crazy) and I continued to do so all the way home and all day long, until I took enough sedatives to finally drift off into a sleep filled with nightmares and heavy sweats. My body let go of some of the heaviness, I can feel some of it is gone. That is the first step. I am at a place where I will be nurtured and supported with my continued fight. The trauma of my diagnosis, the trauma of my care, the trauma the word cancer imprints into you. I have been left searching for something, I am just not sure what it is yet. Searching for more dedication and happiness, for more time and love with family and friends, for more time to relax and breathe. And if today is a bad day, I can always start again tomorrow.

I have now celebreated my canceranniversary (yep, I am making it one word), my 4 year wedding anniversary, and my 28th birthday CANCER FREE.  I know that I have to take small steps, I continually get frusterated when I try to leap and I land on my face.  I am still struggling with having to approach life differently than I did a year ago, it contains a frustration that you will never be able to understand.  It enhibits me from moving forward, it puts me in bed in tears--a daily battle that I can't wrap my head around, in a way I am forced to re-learn the world and my place in it--talk about heaviness.

I started Effexor for the mood swings and crazy business. I have been on it for over a few weeks now and I have stopped having the dramatic mood swings where I tended to lash out verbally, which I think has made Scott a happy-camper.  I am still struggling with adjustment and we are going to up my dose, which should also help with the hot-flashes, which have now increased due to my decrease in taking Gabapentin (the nerve medication I am taking for my ankles--it is really good news, because that means physical therapy is helping, but reducing the Gabapentin, which was masking my hot flashes, has made them come back and they are a bitch). 

In the midst of all this craziness Scott has went back to school and we took our PRIDE training, which is the first step in the foster-to-adopt process and Team Lumps and Lipstick did another 5K!!! Once again, I make the promise of writing more often, I will put it on my to-do list.

on our way to our foster parenting training class

me & my mom getting ready for last weekends 5K

Our "road baby" sign

Tacoma Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K

Team Lumps and Lipstick