Sunday, February 23, 2014

halfway there

I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, 
because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. 
I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing 
every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ. 
For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, 
because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Philemon 1:4-7

Last Tuesday, I had my 15th radiation treatment, marking the halfway point.  The day was celebrated with a massage, which was a gift from my wonderful husband for Valentine's Day, followed by visits from two friends, both of whom stopped by with hugs and gifts to celebrate my halfway mark.  I am blessed to have such an amazing support network!  I am greatly encouraged by all the encouragement I have received from wonderful friends and family in my life.
I am relieved to have more treatments behind me than before me now.
I have learned (or re-learned) a few things thus far in my journey.  Even more things will come to light these next few weeks, I am sure, but for now...
Similarities begin and end with a diagnosis or the circumstance.  No two journeys are exactly alike.  Nor will anyone's response to their diagnosis and treatment, trauma, or circumstance exactly match another's.  When sharing your experience with someone going through something similar to yours, speak carefully and assume nothing about how you think things should be handled or how "normal" it is to feel a certain way about things.  Allowances for individuality should be granted in hard times just as they are in normal, everyday life.      
Stress expresses itself in strange ways.  I have always known that I carry stress in my neck and shoulders.  It is no different this time around.  However, I have discovered for myself in these past few months/weeks, I internalize everything under stress.  I clam up, but my brain goes into overdrive. Things said are processed more deeply.  Love is shared more freely.  Hurts are felt more intensely.  It is an exhausting process to try and find balance between logic and feeling.
Support makes itself available.  Seek it out.  Accept it.  Allow people the blessing of offering it however they are willing and able.  Appreciate it.  Give it in return as you find opportunity to do so.
Seasons come and go...so do people.  There is a poem that starts out..."People come into our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime." by the infamous "Author Unknown", according to most sources on the internet.  Like it or not, it is true...and we have no control over it.  Nor should we think we can or ought to have any control over their coming and going.  If we trust that God has a purpose for our lives, we can trust that He has a purpose in whom He allows in it and out of it.  Negative energy is wasted energy.  Chasing after those who want to exit the scene for whatever reason is not an option.
Strength is...in letting go.  asking for help.  facing fear head on.  submission.  the name of Jesus.
Simplicity exists in the small things.  Scripture.  Bed time stories.  Coffee.  Hugs.  Messages.  Ice cream.  Weights.  MacGyver reruns.  Photos.  Memories.  Quietness.  Laughter.  Sleep.
Sweating and Tom's all natural deodorant are not a match made in heaven.  One has to switch to a all natural type of deodorant during radiation treatments.  One without aluminum is Tom's.  Let's face it, though, honestly, Tom's does not endure 60 minutes of cardio, nor 30...not even close.  Good grief, it does nothing for you even when you do nothing.  Come on, March 12th!  My first day of freedom and antiperspirant use again can not come soon enough.  My gym membership depends upon it.
Setting a daily goal to reach helps you focus.  No matter how big or small the goal is for the day, do everything possible to make it happen.  Something has happened and focusing on any given task has become terribly difficult.  I force myself to get something accomplished each day.  Whether for myself or someone else does not matter.  I feel better and I sharpen my focusing skills when goals are met.
Sticking to something routine-ish encourages normalcy.  When nothing feels normal, neither do I.  If nothing else is the norm for me, I rely on my 100 pushups to give me my normalcy.  Been doing them since August, so it was something normal before cancer, surgery, recovery, and radiation.  Has nothing to do with them at all, actually.  I like that.
and, finally...
Smile.  Because you can.

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