Sunday, 19 June 2011

Finding a Balance and Relinquishing Control

Working on finding a balance!
This week has been a struggle. My type A personality has kicked into over-drive, and my stress levels have been high. I kicked off this week with the first of many visits to the oncologists' office and my first appointment with the plastic surgeon. say that things did not start off on a high note would probably be categorized as an understatement.

I am being treated at Princess Margaret (PMH), which is world renowned for its cutting-edge cancer research, amazing facilities, brilliant doctors, and top-notch treatment. Obviously, all of which is fabulous. But just walking in the front door is enough to send even the most balanced person reeling. If you are entering PMH then you are probably there because you or someone you love is dealing with cancer. Shit is about to get real, and it has been a battle to find my center ever since.

Upon entering the building I am directed to the Breast Ward, which despite their attempts to spruce it up with modern decorating and the complimentary juice boxes, is probably one of the most depressing places I have ever been. The Breast Ward consists of a large waiting room filled with women in various stages of a breast cancer diagnosis. Some are like me - we are the lucky ones - and we are there to act preventatively so we don't have to come to this place for "real" treatment. Others are clearly waiting anxiously for results, and other still have already received that faithful diagnosis and are hopeful that the action taken with their treatment has been enough. The tension, the sadness, the anxiety, and the hopefulness that belongs to these women permeates the whole room and is something I can all too easily relate to. This is not a place I am ready to be, and this is not a battle I want to fight. The reality of the situation is heart-breaking. And as I sit on the examination table in my thin blue hospital gown it has struck me that I am not in control, and that life is going to messy, and that this is going to be long road.

The sunshine-filled optimism inspired by my run has faded all too easily as the painful jolt of reality has begun to set in. I have spent the last week inside my own head, which has never actually fully left the Breast Ward. Every scenario has played out in my mind, in terms of timing, complications, and how all of that will fit with the regular life-things I have going on. I feel tired (exhausted actually) and sad, but the truth is I can't spend the next however many months in this place - in this state. Grief is normal, and perfectly understandable, but it is also a transitional state. We grieve so we can accept the changes that occurred in our life and move forward. So this week of grief is really a week of transformation for me. The journey ahead will not be easy, and while this decision is tough, and the circumstances less than ideal I know I am making the right decision me for me. I am making a choice to treat my health proactively, and being proactive also means taking care of myself in the interim and accepting these impending changes.

Amazing what a little purple paint can do for the spirit

So, naturally the first step to accepting these changes is a pedicure (of course)...Well, actually the first step is probably learning to take a deep breath and allowing life to take me where it may (but the pedicure does play an integral role in finding this inner peace). As a self-professed uber type A personality, this is not my natural reaction - it is in fact the farthest thing from it - but this is not something I have control over and the sooner I come to terms with that the better. Every minute we spend angry and upset is 60 seconds of happiness we will never get back, so today is about balance, about growth, and about relinquishing control.

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,