I don't want cancer to define me; however, this is much easier said than done.
My week is planned entirely around my medical appointments.
Each day's activities are determined by how I feel when my feet hit the floor in the morning. That plan often changes in the minutes and hours that follow based on how my body cooperates.
Blog posts, while about life, still revolve around cancer and the thoughts it provokes.
At least part of every conversation I have, unless it's with a checker at the grocery store or the fine folks at Jamba Juice, is about cancer. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear from people and to be encouraged in this battle; but the reality is this means I talk about cancer, cancer treatment, the spiritual aspects of having cancer, cancer diets, cancer anything and everything, A LOT.
There is also the pressure that I put on myself to "do cancer right." To have the "right" attitude and stay positive. To not "waste" any moments since we don't know how many more of those I will have. The guilt I feel when I have passed a day not doing a whole lot. The responsibility I feel to help comfort those around me who are grieving the fact that I have this disease; helping them process and reconcile what it all means for themselves. Yes, I am Type A.
Cancer is not just a disease, but a thing unto itself because of the way it creeps into to a previously pleasant and peaceful existence and tries to steel your joy, to make everything all about itself. What a narcissist.
I reached my limit on Monday. Enough cancer talk. Enough obsessing over every word the doctors say or the result of each and every blood test (true to form, I access all my medical records online and read every report, result, etc.). Enough analyzing my life, my bucket list, the theology of pain and suffering. Enough was enough. I needed a break.
So, what's a girl to do? After all, it's pretty hard to stop thinking about the fact that you have cancer.
I have always loved a good story, so I thought immersing myself in one might be the best path forward. I ignored the phone, closed the social media apps, and turned on the TV. Binge watching is a beautiful way to lose your mind in someone else's story and escape from Cancerland for a few (ok, more than a few) hours. This escape *may* have lasted through Tuesday as well.
I am not sure that numbing my brain in front of the boob tube was the "right" way to find the release I needed, but it seemed to work. In fact, I find that by taking a break from it all, I can better appreciate the outpouring of support that continues to flow.
Eight weeks into this crazy experience one of the things I am learning that there is no shame in protecting my time and sanity by not returning messages or writing posts or calling people back. I am also learning that I need to have more grace with myself. Having cancer is a weighty thing. I want to "do" this season in life perfectly, whatever that means. I feel guilty for the pain my cancer is causing others. I feel guilty for taking what I think are too many days off blogging. I feel guilty for binge watching anything.
Who has time for all that guilt? I don't. Instead, I am praying that I can continue to find grace with myself when I don't think I am handling things the "right" way. I also hope I can take things as they come, and to allow myself cancer breaks, to lose my mind in something frivolous and fun. Before cancer laughter and enjoyment were a priority. Should they not be more so now?