Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lashing Out

One of the things I have been most proud of on this journey has been my ability to stay present and focused. I was intentional as I went into my surgeries and treatments. I powered through when I needed to and I surrendered when all else failed. No expectations, just being present and patient. I honored every step of this journey and have been grateful for all the lessons I have learned.

Well it seems all of that "chemo wisdom" has vacated the premises momentarily. I had some serious unrealistic expectations about my road to recovery. I had this vision that the day after my last chemo I would be ready to party and get going with my "new normal." Sure I had additional appointments, treatments, and surgeries ahead of me, but for the love of G_d look at what I just accomplished, I'm a freakin' rock star - right?  I thought my hair would be like a supercharged chia pet and I would have my super cute pixie cut and my fantastic brows + lashes in a week. I thought I would be inspired to write everyday and engage with work with a new enthusiasm. I thought I'd have the strength to get back to my hot yoga class. I thought I would have the energy to call back and spend time with all the people I love who I haven't been able to connect with these last several months.

And then I had my follow-up appointments with my doctors and was informed that I am now entering the "survivorship" stage which is described as "the most difficult part of the journey" for many women. I heard potentially 2 years until I reached the physical and mental stamina I remember.  And I learned lots of other overwhelming facts and emotional realities about this new phase of the journey.


As if right on cue, the universe quickly reminded me to take pause. My ego yet again has been put in its place with a good dose of perspective. I feel like a baby who has had too much tummy time and simply fizzles out.

It has been 3 weeks and let's just say my vision of recovery described above was a much more manic depiction of my reality today. Those lessons of being present and patient - still needed. Letting my body set the pace and continue to nourish my body, mind and spirit - still a priority. The gift of being guided and protected - still my place of comfort. Kindness and gratitude to myself and others - absolute non-negotiables. I'm beginning to think that these lessons weren't about chemo or cancer - but about life.

From a vanity perspective, the hair is more of an intense peach fuzz vs. the chia pet. The brows and lashes are growing back probably at a rate of one per day - literally, one freakin' hair.  Instead of the hot yoga, I'm taking cool short walks in the crisp fall air as I gain my strength and stamina. And I am connecting with the people I love and have missed, just at a slower pace.

While disorienting, I realize I am in fact a "survivor" now and am reminded everyday of the gift I have been given. The grace of  my spirit continues to speak in the hushed tone of love, grace, compassion, and gratitude as a constant reminder of all that I am capable.

Its been an exhilarating, exhausting and bumpy road to recovery thus far. However, I'm embracing the physical + mental transformation and transmutation that I'm witnessing everyday. And thank goodness I didn't throw out those fake lashes:-)

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