Saturday, August 12, 2017

Brought Down By a Blank Page

I've been promising an update for the longest time. On my Lumpiversary, over Memorial Day weekend, I started a post, but never finished it. When I re-activated the Gloves Up team for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, I started a post, but never finished it. When I went on vacation for seventeen days, I planned a post, but never started it. It seems that I am overwhelmed by the empty page in front of me. So many words flood my head, but sending them through my fingers seems more than I can handle. How is that possible? I beat cancer, but am sidelined by a simple blog post? How ridiculous is that?

Can you hear my inner critic, or is that voice just in my head? "You are pathetic! No one wants to hear what you have to say. What makes you think you have anything of value to contribute? Who do you think you are? Do something productive instead of hiding behind a computer. You never finish anything, so don't even start. Binge something on Netflix. Take a nap. Nothing you say will make any difference to anyone anyway." And so I listened. And I stopped trying to write. And I binged Netflix like a boss!

Here's the thing, though, I don't want that inner critic to be right. I want to use my words to heal my world. I want to help others who are fighting battles against illness, against themselves, against their circumstances. I can't do that under a blanket in my pj's with a remote control and a fizzy water. I can't do that if I never take a risk and put my words out there.

With The Breast Cancer Chronicles, I tried to keep things  real, honest,  and share what was going on as it was happening, but I also tried to focus on gratitude and positivity. That is how I try to do life in general. But some days are harder than others. Some days are hard. Period. It has been over a year since my double mastectomy, and ten months since my reconstruction. That seems like such a long time, and it seems like no time at all. I thought I would be slaying dragons and running marathons by now, but I'm not. (To be fair, dragons seem pretty cool, so slaying them is mean. And running unless someone scary is chasing me has never seemed like a good idea to me, so I avoid it at all costs.) I'm still exhausted most of the time. I still have pain from the surgeries. I still have to seriously psych myself up to do anything other than rest after work and on weekends. That is my reality right now. Will it always be my reality? Certainly not. But it is right now.

I went back to work full time in January. In February, I took up hard core mindfulness meditation. I gave myself a nine o'clock bedtime on school nights. I meditated every morning and every night. In March I went to Seattle with Mom to celebrate Baby Sis turning Forty. In April, I went on an amazing four day silent meditation retreat. In May, I got a roommate, school ended and I celebrated with some fabulous friends. In June, I took on some new responsibilities at work, and saw U2 live with the Betties. In July I went to the mountains with Mom & Dad then to Sedona with a lifelong friend. Now here we are at August, and school starts Monday.

Today is Saturday. It is pouring rain outside. I am under the covers with the computer in my lap, listening to the rain and trying to talk myself into getting out of bed. Is this my new normal? Is it yours? I don't know. What I do know is that I am still breathing, still fighting, and still grateful to be alive. I am grateful that you are, too.


Peace & love