Chemosabe Eight – Keep Moving!

It’s been an incredibly busy week, which in many ways has been such a welcomed thing, but now that I’m at the end of it, I’m realizing how important rest is, especially when your body is going through something challenging. I’m not feeling too good after chemo on Thursday, but my symptoms are mild, so I’m incredibly grateful and am focusing past them.

The days leading up to treatment were lovely and full and I was feeling positive and strong, so I didn’t doubt that I’d have the energy to get through.

Tuesday started with a picc line dressing change and blood tests.  I sat next to a girl I often see on a Thursday. She usually sleeps through her treatment, which seems to be a long one. She mentioned that her final chemo would take place on Thursday so I asked how she was feeling about it and we chatted for a while. We ended our conversation by asking the nurse if we could sit next to one another on Thursday so we could catch up some more. Another patient, who I also see on a Thursday, was openly sharing his current state of mind with us. He compared his experience as a cancer patient to that of being a puppet on a string. It’s the perfect explanation actually. There is a feeling of limitation of movement and choice in general and everything is orchestrated to make sure you’re on track with treatment, hospital visits and medication so it can sometimes feel crippling.

I finished up at the hospital and spent the rest of the afternoon running errands which I’d decided, would all be done on foot. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was feeling really good and strong. Midday, when I was finally on my way back home, I realized that I’d been a little too ambitious, so I took the bus home as I felt completely exhausted. I had a date planned later in the day with Susie and Caralyn who were both in ‘A Little Night Music’ with me, so I had to keep going. We had settled on meeting somewhere I hadn’t been before, which made a nice change for me. I’ve stayed away from the underground and public transport as much as I could to avoid picking up germs, but I felt I’d cope with a little exposure that day and I’m so glad I did. I had the best time with you girls. Thank you both 🙂

Wednesday was an early morning call to get to a different hospital for my follow up with Oncology and more blood tests. There is usually quite a bit of waiting around on these days. The overall feedback is that I’m coping well with treatment which is nice to hear from the specialists who see so many different patients all day long. They are always encouraging and supportive.

I had another catch up planned with my friend Marie in the afternoon and was scheduled to attend a talk later in the day with my friend Leigh. The talk only ended at 21:45 so it was going to be a long day and my instinct was that I’d make it through, which I did. I had a brilliant day and left the talk feeling really inspired with lots to think about.

Chemo day was up next and after a bit of a lie in, I ventured off to the hospital. As it turns out the nurses had moved my cold cap machine to another section of the ward to accommodate sitting with Lisa Marie, but she was asleep on the other side of the ward, so I settled in. It was busy and chatty and as lovely as the people were around me, I was feeling tired and quiet, so I have to say, it wasn’t my best day and I wished to be in the corner where I usually am. To add to that feeling of wishing I were in my quiet corner, I also didn’t feel great once the chemo cycle started. Sometimes you can sit there and not feel a thing and sometimes you know it’s going in. I had a strange sensation in my body on Thursday that I recognized from the first day of treatment. It leaves you feeling uneasy and the feeling hasn’t really left me all weekend, but I’ve taken it slow as much as I can.

Friday was the most beautiful day, with the sun beating down and a gentle breeze blowing, it was perfect. I went for a long walk in the park down the road from where I live and hugged several trees along the way. There is a special tree that I sometimes spend time sitting underneath. I call it my ‘wishing willow.’ On Friday I was feeling really quiet and a little emotional for some reason.  I entered into the shady space of the tree, surrounded by the beautiful cascading green leaves and circled around the trunk several times, speaking my thoughts out aloud. Tears streamed down my face as I walked slowly around its trunk and spontaneously began a dialogue with someone who is very special to me. Last year, just before my first surgery, my dear friend Gordon passed away. There has been little time to process his death properly, although I have felt a gaping hole since his passing. This is the month of his birth and perhaps the quietness that I have been feeling is somehow linked to him, and I am now ready to process this huge loss. He was a father-figure to me and my biggest mentor, someone who understood me fully and was always there when I needed him.  If Gordy were here now, watching me go through this, he would have had lots of wisdom to share.

Yesterday brought the most precious little soul into the house. Jono had his overseas family around for lunch and I got to meet the rest of his lovely family and little Charlie who is now 19 months. I was hooked on sight and his little laugh was actually all the healing I needed this weekend. He brought so much joy into the house and the entire day was truly special with great food, good conversation, playful moments with Charlie and wonderful sunshine 🙂

There was a magical moment when Charlie walked into the shade of a baby willow tree in the garden and stood there for a while, with such delight on his face.  Even Charlie found his ‘wishing willow’ tree.

“I am a willow of the wilderness, loving the wind that bent me – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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