2016 was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I finished school in December of 2015 and that left me a little unclear as to what I would do next. So, I launched a new business helping other chronic illness bloggers. Just when things started to be getting into a nice groove and business began picking up, life was thrown a curve ball. My mom has cancer.
This was a curve ball with many curves as we went from being told it wasn’t cancer just damage from previous radiation (for a previous cancer many years ago) to there is cancer after all but it’s contained to a scary hysterectomy that could have resulted in a more extensive surgery (again because of that radiation damage) to the hysterectomy going well but finding out that the cancer had spread further than they thought and that it’s a pretty scary type of cancer. They weren’t able get to her lymph glands (again radiation scar tissue in the way) so we have no idea if they actually got it all, although they got everything they could see. It’s been a scary couple of months and today she starts chemo.
I’m not the one with cancer, I know this but I’m still going through some scary stuff. The idea of possibly losing my mother scares the crap out of me. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with her, helping her, taking her to appointments, etc and that effects me as well. My energy levels are lower as I’ve been using a lot of energy running back and forth. This has left me with more days where I just really can’t do anything. But, it’s not just affecting my energy, it’s affecting my motivation. So that even on days when I have the energy to do more I struggle to focus and to stay motivated to get work done. Instead, I’m hanging on and just doing the bare minimum. I’ve found more and more lately that I’m sinking. I’m escaping into TV, into food and drink.
Realizing that I’m doing this is the first step to making a change and to getting my motivation back. The thing is that I love my new business. I also love this blog and sharing with you guys. But, I’ve struggled to really be present for either of those things, for anything really. I came to this realization this last week that I’ve not been present for much of anything lately and that has to change. It’s time to slow down again; to really be wherever I am and with whomever I’m with.
I know that I will get through this. Hopefully, my mom will as well. There’s a long road ahead with months of chemo and hopefully she will come out the other side cancer free. But, to go through this without learning something would be a waste of so much time. While I will not be as focused on my work as I would have been, I will be spending a lot more time with my mom and enjoying her company, learning things about her that I should already know, and taking advantage of every minute I have left with her, whether it’s months or years. When she had cancer before, I was 15 and I completely took for granted that she’d make it. Thankfully, she did.
A few things that I am trying to hang onto as we go through this…
- Everything happens for a reason, even though we may never know what the reason is. I struggle with this at times, but it is something that I believe.
- There are things I can learn from this and I have to make an effort to do so. If I hide from the struggle I will not learn. If I can face it and work through it, I can learn from it.
- I will be stronger for having gone through this time. By simply facing it and choosing to be positive rather than focus on what “could” happen I am stronger and it will be easier to stay positive through later tough times.
- Perspective matters. I could focus on the negative, I could ask “why me?” or “why my mom?” I honestly do ask the latter as my mom is the kindest, most giving person on the planet, why should she have to go through this?” But, it does not good to stay focused on that. What does do some good is to think about how I can help her. What can we do to get through this with the best chance of her coming out the other side healthy?
- Things will change. Life is constantly changing and whatever struggle I’m going through right now will pass. It may not pass in the way that I would prefer it to do so, but it will pass. Then we will be on to something else. I can’t let myself get stuck in the negativity of life. I can’t bury myself in a moment that will pass. I can’t put my life on hold waiting for things to change, because they will change. If I continually put life on hold waiting for change I’ll be on hold forever waiting for yet another change.
- The only change I can force is the change in me. I can’t change the world around me. I have no control over my mom’s cancer, but I do have control over how I react to what is going on. I have control over my feelings and my emotions. I can either allow myself to get stuck or I can take control and choose to be happy and choose to move forward.
- Anything is possible. Anything can happen in this moment, or in this life. I just have to be open to allowing it. If I shut down and refuse to accept change, or to accept what is then I am letting life pass me by and with it many amazing things. What’s going to happen around me will happen regardless of me, but if I want positive things to happen in my own life I have to be open to anything.
I think sometimes as life happens we need to take a little time to absorb it, to deal with it. That might mean a short period of shut down. Just like a computer in order to reboot we have to shut down first. I’ve been in the midst of a reboot for the last few weeks, but now it’s time to start up again and face life and whatever may happen.
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Looking for more help on getting through tough times? Get 15 Tips for Getting Through Tough Times.