I am sorry I have not blogged in a little while. For a while I felt I didn’t have too much to say. Usually I am the silage pit of positivity- feckin endless. I think perhaps things caught up with me there, things I had been running from. Eventually you have to face up to what you quiver away from and try face it. No not try, actually you absolutely must face it, because it is your only way of survival. Whether it is cancer, depression or any other shit card you get landed with, you owe it to yourself to stop supressing how you feel and explore those emotions. I think of myself right now as an over packed case. I have rolled up, squished, packed every thought and feeling into my case, and now I am trying to zip it up. It won’t zip however, no matter how I sit on it, push down, it keeps popping back open. And at this moment, I am looking at a year and a half worth of these articles of emotion and I have no idea where to put them.
As I write this, I don’t preach retrospectively. I am smack bang in the middle of trying to swim through this absolute shit storm of doctors, scans, bags of chemicals, hardening veins, stents, you name it, it is exactly the opposite of what any person should have to demoralise themselves to. And how, how, how the hell do you even begin to do that? I talk about this a lot; the ways I destress, relax, try forget, but sometimes I feel I am telling myself to do these things just as much as I tell you. I was reaching a boiling point after Christmas there, the weight of the last year and half was beginning to crush me. I was not keeping to my diet a year after being so brutally strict, I was barely exercising, I was beginning to entertain the most ruthless of thoughts. I was crumbling apart. What comes down however, once you help yourself, will come back up. It is just all about realising that you deserve to be as high as you can. People feel different things, I could chat to the man beside me in the oncology ward and he’ll take it on the chin. The next week I might talk to a woman and suddenly I am consoling a heartbroken woman. The first thing I realised as I wiped the tears away from my cheek as I found myself in the bathroom crying yet again, was that I deserved to be happy. The one thing people are sure of in life, is that we are all going to die at some point. It is the surest thing, but we are all so afraid to live and strive for our very best. I could be on this earth another week, or I could be crocheting away until I am ninety two. What time I have left, I don’t want to live it drowning in my strained thoughts, I want to actually live it. So there was my first step, acknowledging that I want to enjoy what I fight so hard to have.
I attend St. James Hospital, and I’m sure about other hospitals but they have a psychology team that work very close with the oncology department and have psychologists extremely knowledgeable in the area of a cancer diagnosis. Maybe it was fluke, or maybe it was the fact I was asking my doc to inspect every little pain and ache, that she asked would I like to talk to the psych- oncology team. My first instinct was to politely turn her down, ‘Ah I’ll be fine’, I think to myself. Nearly everyone I have recommended therapy to chuckle at me. The concept is changing now, but in general people don’t think it could help them. I compare it to going a massage therapist. Your back is full of knots, laden with stress going in, but you come out feeling so much lighter, having kneaded through some of those stubborn problems that won’t shift. When she asked me if I would like to be referred to the psych department, I knew deep down it was exactly the thing I needed. Being honest I hadn’t been to any form of counselling since relapsing. When I thought about opening that can of worms I felt so exhausted, thinking it was just easier to keep it shut- I am tired enough as it is, without having to remember everything all over again. In fact, it was carrying around all my fears and thoughts that were holding me down, making me tired. Slowly but surely, I am beginning to unload bit by bit. Jaysus lads, just to sit down and get it all out. It’s amazing. Stop trying to be hardy and just do it!
What do you do when you wake up? Reach for your phone. What do you do when you are waiting for a beautician, doctor, dentist appointment? Get out the phone? Before bed? A quick look at Facebook, just in case you have missed some fake post about someone bragging about some fake thing. You are waking up and going to bed setting your life and thoughts around something that has just no real basis to it. When you are not feeling the best, comparing yourself to someone you barely know is the absolute worst thing you could do. You probably don’t care about them all that much, but you find yourself wondering if you should be exactly like them? So I deleted my Facebook account. I will admit myself I was addicted to it, dependent on it nearly. I tried deleting the app, but found myself still having a quick gawk through Chrome. I had to go cold turkey, and I am actually so much happier. I have so much more time to my day now. I feel free.
For cancer patients, a lot can’t work through their treatment. There are days where I can’t imagine having the energy to adult, and other days I want to pull out my precious hair from boredom. Also, I have more time to think, think, and think some more. It’s just not good for me at times. So to get around that, I still wake up as if I was going to work, but I keep my mind busy instead. I am lucky that my passion is writing. So I sit down, and write for hours. Whether it is the Writing Course, a short story competition, blog post or a book, I have plenty to do in the day- always exploring, expanding my writing technique. I suppose Conor McGregor had to put in the hard work at the start aswell.
I don’t push people away. I don’t bother hiding my tears if I cry now. I am doing a lot more with friends and family these days. I keep busy. Plan the things I always wanted to do. I haven’t laughed as much in the last few weeks. I am learning that life is actually quite fun if you let it. I love being completely alone, but the times I am with friends and family I am never happier. Just back from Poland with my sister Lucia and friend Luke- jaysus the craic we had. There was barely time to take a selfie- too busy enjoying the moment.
I make sure to exercise. I have joined the gym and I make sure to do my minimum thirty minutes a day, bar the couple days after the chemo. I walked a total of 50km over the couple of days in Poland, I am a strong horse. Exercise is key. You feel better mentally, and what’s more, your body feels strong. You believe you can do this! I can’t wait to get back to Camogie!
There are no quick answers, you just have to step little steps forward. Some are not always easy, but it will help in the long run. Already, I feel better. I feel I am beginning to take reign of myself again, and cancer is locked up in the boot. Hopefully soon I’ll be dumping it by the roadside.