Man this cancer thing is already kind of ridiculous, and I haven’t even started treatment. From the moment I found out, I firmly positioned myself in full bad-ass stance, made long term grandiose plans and capriciously swore that nothing would hold me down or stop me from caring for other people and patients. I was cocky. I was confident. I thought that it would help me beat this thing.
So, that was like….so last two weeks. Now let me tell you about what I actually should have done or learned…lol When I first learned that I had cancer, I had people telling me everything from reminding me how I need to slow down to I could work full time with this no problem with no pauses! Well of course I gravitated toward the full throttle advice! Who wouldn’t? I didn’t cancel patients right away. I started writing my book. I started a new podcast. I recruited my army, once I finally let the cat out of the bag. I cried for about two seconds and then I was ready to go! I was not done yet! Screw you cancer! You’re not the boss of me! Sound familiar? Anyone else been there? It doesn’t last too long does it?
Here is what I should have realized and learned. The first thing to realize when you are told you have cancer is that it has been around a lot longer than you thought. You need to add a couple of years in some cases to the time of diagnosis. Whaaat?! A couple of years?! That sucker has been sneaking around in my body for a couple of years? What the hell?! What that means is by the time you are diagnosed, it has been around long enough to give you symptoms. This means that the path from feeling normal to shitty has been significantly shortened before you even get the chance to process the fact that you have cancer in the first place. How rude!
Second, I should have realized that now is the time to plan carefully, anticipate and CONSERVE energy, not burn it all up before you even start. This is the time to try to be realistic, without guilt, about what you will be able to do and not do. This is my biggest challenge. Instead of just relaxing, I spend way too much time feeling guilty on what I am missing out on and who I am letting down. I am fixated on the fact that I am dropping the ball. Ugh! I went from feeling good to crappy in about a week. Now I walk across the room or just sit and promptly get short of breath, depending on the day. I have fatigue that is so intense that it literally comes out of no where and sucks the life out of you to the point that even breathing seems like too much effort. I am told that this is common with lymphoma since it is a condition that has a lot more inflammation associated with it. Therefore, your body requires a ton of excess energy and calories to try to fight it off. It makes sense I guess. My point is, that I waste time when I feel good trying to accomplish a million things until the next time I don’t feel good. I am not good at resting. How will this benefit me? It won’t. It will only make it tougher and take me longer to get better.
Last but not least, I should have realized that I have to let people help me! They are doing it because they want to, not because I am making them. I need to stop trying to do everything myself. I need to stop confusing accepting help with some weird acknowledgement of failure or weakness. What is my problem? I still don’t know…lol All I can promise is that I will work on it, because I intend to see this thing all the way through. Wish me luck!