Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What If You Could Change The Stuff You Can't

Okay, what?  That's probably the question after reading the title of this post.  I didn't know how else to put that into words.  I feel like throughout my cancer journey and even throughout my life, I've always heard "don't try to change the things you can't change."  Sigh, yes I know.

There will always be the mean girl in grade school and high school that will make it her mission to be as mean as possible to you:
You can't change her.  But you can change the way you react to her.  Easier said than done.

There will always be the "stuff" that happens in your life that you have no control over, say a cancer diagnosis for example.  If this has happened to you, a friend or family member, you know how scary and painful this is:
You can't change the diagnosis.  But you can change the way you react to it.  Easier said than done.

See the pattern here?

Let's play let's pretend.  What if you could change the stuff you can't?  How would that look?  Am I opening up a door of emotions that will make things worse?  Maybe, but I always like to ponder.  What would I do if I could change it all?  How would that feel?  As I type this, my mind is wandering all over the place.  My immediate thought is I would change having a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 32.  Like, I would want to completely erase that from my life.  It immediately feels weird to say that though, because like it or not, it is a part of my life.  A lot has changed for me - not because I had cancer (let's face it, nothing good ever comes from that at all), but because of my REACTION to it.  I like to say that I wish cancer never happened to me, but I know the is silly.  I've made some good decisions in my post cancer life so in all fairness, I don't think about that one all that much.  As I type that, I kinda can't believe I am saying it.

If I can still play pretend, I'd wish I had a switch somewhere in my head that I could easily flip off.  It's the one that has an on and off button.  The switch controls fears, worries, and anxieties.  I would flip that switch to off and then rip it apart in hopes of it never turning back on.  I am drooling over this right now.  That's what I wish I could change.  I sometimes like to daydream on that.  I feel like it is one of the things I have a chance of controlling and really changing.  It's taken and still taking a lot of time to work through.

I know actually getting rid of the unbearable emotional baggage that comes with cancer is virtually impossible and it is silly of me to dream about never having those thoughts again.  However, I think it is a good exercise in thinking about what if I really could?  It gives me motivation and opens my eyes up a bit to what I have learned my whole life about any situation - You can't control the uncontrollable but it is your REACTION to it that makes the difference.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Battle Scars

How do you see your scars?  Are they battle wounds?  Little or big annoying reminders you have to see every day?  Painful memories?  Strength indicators?  I think it is far to say we all see our scars differently or maybe the same at times too.  I have scars everywhere, thank you very much cancer.  I see them every time I change clothes, look in the mirror, shower, etc.  I see them from my memory when I close my eyes or have no access to a mirror.  The mastectomy wounds and the lump removal left physical scars on my chest and along the place where my breasts once were.  Constant fears, memories of the darkest time of my life, fears that swirl in my mind as if there is a constant gust of wind make up the emotional scars that I refuse to part with although not for a lack of trying.

I found this quote and that's how I got to thinking about my scars and how i should look at them.  I am not sure I was ever ashamed of them.  Everyone knows I have had cancer so I don't hide it.  I am really not embarrassed by them either.  I sometimes just can't get passed WHY I have them.  That's the part that always gets me.  Why did I get cancer?  Why did it find me?  Why, why, why?  I love the sound of crickets when I look for the answer - there isn't one.  So, I keep circling the past with my scars in the driver's seat directing my how I should think about them and what they mean.  This quote got me thinking that I need to slam on the breaks and take control of my journey.  I can utilize the scars as reminders of the past or I can take their memory and have them direct me toward the future or even just as a reminder to be present today.

So, to answer my question about about how you see scars?  I know how I have seen them and I now I know how I plan to see them.  They are my strength.  They are my guide to be more present.  They are my memories that allow me to visit the path if needed.  And most importantly, they are my lock and key to keep the past the past and force me to look at the present instead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The New Year - What's Your Word

Happy New Year 2019!  It's here, it's here!  A fresh start, a new outlook, and whatever else you want it to be.  It's one of my favorite times.  I know, we can all say that and then find ourselves back to our old routines by Friday.  However, I'm thinking that maybe if we think about it a bit, maybe we have the chance to change that up a bit.  What do you think?  Are you willing to take that chance with me?

Okay, let's start with a word focus.  I LOVE this part of the new year.  People make goals and resolutions...okay, fine, so do I.  But I am not sure they always work and usually I forget.  I have seen others pick of the word of the year and I have found I love the process too.  Mine is:

which in my mind then leads to 
which then leads to 
which I love more than setting goals.  

So, whatever approach you choose:

  • Resolutions
  • Goals
  • Words
  • Nothing (that's totes cool too)
just do yourself one favor - own it!  Own whatever path you take, stick with it, and roll with it for the year.  None of us know what is in store for us in 2019 and there is a lot we can't control.   Accept what you can, work with what you can and make the best choices for you.  Enjoy the ride folks!  We've got 364 more beautiful days of 2019 ahead of us.  Here's to an amazing year!!

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