Dec 12th…..Dec 12th 2020. It’s where it all started. The morning I woke up feeling like I was choking with a voice yelling inside my head to get up and look in the mirror. Whether it was my own gut instinct or my late father I will never now. That morning changed my life. I did get up. I did look into the mirror. I saw the lump on my neck and off I went. It was the beginning of a battle of fear, frustration, and anxiety as made my first steps toward my cancer revealing itself and everything that followed.
Well, that was almost two years ago. I thought I was getting better at letting it go. I really did but nope, here we are. It’s less than a month away and suddenly the panic attacks, the anxiety out of nowhere, the wondering about every little symptom is all back. It is PTSD at its best/worst. I can’t really believe how long it took me to figure it out. I guess I had to waste time beating myself up for having anxiety first. We all do. Then it hit me! Of course. The anniversary of one of the most traumatic times in my life is coming up! What normal brain can completely let that go? That trauma gets stored and buried, with significant effort from me. But, even I can’t hold it back all the time. Lord knows I try.
So, what do I do? I can’t keep fighting to suppress it. That will only keep me prisoner to it longer. I have to acknowledge it! I have to embrace that it is real and that it happened and that it affected me in ways that I still don’t fully process. I have to actualize my own feelings about it. The only way to be free is to go forward through it when the feelings flood me. The only power I have is the power to see it for what it is and decide how I want to proceed. The choice of direction is actually completely up to me. I could allow a day( or two or three) to break down and crumble. I could stop functioning. Or, I could move forward and use the experience for good. They say that the final stage of healing occurs when you are able to use what happened to you to help others. That is what I have chosen and continue to chose. I have written my books. I am giving my talks. I am helping other cancer patients. I help other people “get their mind right” for the battle ahead. I share knowledge every day to help give people some sense of control as to what is happening to them. These are the battles I chose to fight every day. These are the battles I want to win. I realize that my past trauma is still with me. I cannot change that, but I can chose to change what I do with it.