Thanks for reading my rather long title. Glad you’re still with me 🙂
It’s been a really interesting couple of weeks since I finally made the decision to have chemo. I agreed on the 28th of January, after many months of deliberation, research and certainty that I wouldn’t have it, to indecision, conflict and second opinions and then finally sleepless nights wondering what would happen if I didn’t accept the treatment.
For some, it’s a no brainer and they readily submit themselves to whatever the doctors say is right for them. Some have no time to decide or choice in the matter which I am sure must be extremely emotionally challenging. Either way you look at it, it’s not easy and I’d say has probably been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and probably the most frustrating thing those closest to me have had to endure. Love you guys!!
I am fortunate that even though there are elements to my type of cancer that require serious consideration and careful thought when it comes to treatment, that it was caught early. I think a part of me thought that it would be a simple case of removing the tumor with one surgery and then I’d jump back into normal life. Not my experience at all and so I’ve had to adapt and do an incredible amount of processing with each discovery and change.
A friend recently asked me if I’ve been happy and cheerful all the way through this. My reply was yes, I have been my normal happy self throughout, but there have of course been a few very difficult and emotional days where I’ve literally been on my knees asking for help and guidance, especially with a decision like chemotherapy. In those dark moments I have gained new insights and the answers I have needed to get me to the next phase have come.
Why the fuss you may ask? Well, I’ve always been the kind of person who won’t take a pill even if I’m in extreme pain. Those who have travelled on tour with me know the drill. I’m stubborn and immovable. It’s just not my belief system. I’m a hippy who likes to hug trees..enough said.
I believe in mind over matter and that you can just breathe through the pain and eventually you won’t even feel it. I center my mind in positive thoughts and I’m motivated by faith. I don’t allow myself to slip into any kind of victim mentality or idea that I’m at the mercy of something. Basically, I’m a fruitcake, but it works for me 🙂
Our minds are powerful! We have such incredible will power to overcome things, but sadly we don’t often realize this is the case.
I cannot say enough that meditation has been life changing for me and has been the most important part of my daily, moment to moment healing. It’s my biggest comfort and joy and I would not be coping the way I am without it.
I, of course have had to explain this to the doctors each time they showed concern with my rejection of further treatment after the surgeries. How can you rely on meditation, prayer and faith when there is treatment available to you that will make all the difference to your recovery? Oh, the things I’ve told them…Ha!
I had an appointment with a clinical psychologist before the second surgery that was very insightful and helped me understand my decision making process. Her assessment of me was rather accurate and affirming, but it also helped me look at some things that I perhaps needed to be honest with myself about.
She came to the conclusion that my decisions are mostly driven by my emotions and intuition, rather than rational decision making processes. She said that my spirituality and trust resulted in me not being particularly worried about my diagnosis and that I am following through with what is right for me and there is no anxiety attached to any decisions. She assessed that I am focused on the here-and-now. Pretty true!
Each time I’ve had a consultation with the doctors, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy have been mentioned and the reason for this is that according to the type of breast cancer that I have, these treatments are all necessary. They are following protocol which is correct.
I think it is evident how I’ve chosen to approach each step of my journey. It has frustrated many people along the way. I read and re read the letter from the clinical psychologist so I could understand myself better through her eyes and I have to say it impacted on me. Not enough to change my method entirely, but enough to choose to be more rational in my thoughts. Added to that, I had listened to each conversation carefully on the subject of chemotherapy and what good it could do. Change was in motion.
I have been known to be quite puritanical in my ways and so I realised that this was an opportunity to find the balance. I have spoken all along about wanting to create a healthy balance between my own healing choices and those of the medical teams I’ve been working with.
I was at a crossroad with this decision and I needed to respect the time and the expertise of those who had been guiding me from the beginning.
After each meditation, I pray that I will be shown the way forward through everything that I interact with in the day, be it an article I read or a conversation I have with someone or just a clear thought. I have always felt that I am led to the right outcome for me in this way.
I have begun to feel a growing certainty about having chemo and the best thing about it is that it has taken place slowly, in the time that is right for me, to feel happy and confident in what it means to take it into my body.
I have nurtured my body with good food, thoughts, meditation, affirmations, self-love and now I am happy to balance my healing with the treatment that is being offered. Quite a massive turnaround from where I’ve been for many months. At least my mother can start growing her hair back 🙂
Paramahansa Yogananda has lovely advice on this. He says..
“We should not be extremists in any way but should adopt whatever methods of healing are suitable, according to individual conviction. Medicines and food have definite chemical action upon blood and tissues. So long as one eats food, why should one deny that medicines and other material aids also have an effect on the body? They are useful so long as the material consciousness in man is uppermost. They have their limitations however, because they are applied from outside. The best methods are those that help the life energy to resume its internal healing activities. Mental cure is superior to all methods of physical cure because will, imagination, faith and reason are states of consciousness that actually and directly act from within”.
My desire from the beginning has been to balance the spiritual with the physical. I recall a comment I made to the plastic surgeon in our first meeting to discuss reconstruction after a mastectomy. I said, “How am I going to hug trees with C cups?” One step at a time!