I’m Surviving…Period: When My Thoughts Made Me Want to Do a Turnabout
When you begin with a thought, do you find yourself advancing to a thought of a different topic and then another? Does it eventually get to the point where you wonder, Now what was I thinking? I do this a lot. Sometimes my thoughts make me want to do a turnabout so I can try to get back to where I started. I also have had numerous conversations that went this way. They make me laugh and sometimes state “It’s chemo brain!” We usually can’t get back to where we started…so we just begin a new topic and carry on until we end up at another point asking “Now what were we talking about?”
Our thoughts amaze me. The capacity we have to create a thought and hold multiple ones at the same time astounds me. When I watch people, and I love to watch people-big time!- I can only imagine what they might be thinking. We have the capacity to formulate new thoughts, on totally different topics, right in the middle of a conversation with another person. How do we do that? If only we could harness this ability and apply this to achieving physical tasks like ironing and grocery shopping at the same time.
I am trying to understand how it is that I’m alive…I have had the same cancer, the same cell type, the same staging, the same surgeries, the same chemotherapy, etc., etc. for ovarian cancer. Somehow I am alive…10 years and still counting. So many other women with the same cancer, cell type, staging, surgeries and chemotherapy have passed. I am pondering the notion that my thoughts are what could be the difference. So, I ask, do you think of yourself as fighting the cancer? Or have you tried this thought on for size…”I’m on this journey, like it or not, and I will make the best of it.”
I began my survivorship journey with the thought of fighting cancer. I wasn’t comfortable with having this thought or this approach because it is an attitude grounded with fear. In a fight someone will always win while the other will lose. In a fight, one party will grow stronger in order to defeat the opponent.
On the other hand, by taking on the notion of making the best of the situation, neither party is creating a battle or picking a fight. I liken cancer to being the barking dog charging towards me. If I choose to defend myself against the dog, I am taking my time and focusing all my energy on the attack. This approach makes the dog eager to be bolder and maybe charge with enough force towards me to bite. When I choose to make the best out of a situation, like continuing my walk past the barking, charging dog, guess what happens? The dog will back down and turn his attention towards something else. I will find myself moving past the challenge, past the obstacle. I will have more energy to walk where I want to go. I did not give my attention nor my energy to cancer. I acknowledged its presence, I let the chemotherapy do its thing and I continued to move forward with my life.
When you find yourself drowning in thoughts of cancer-doom-and-gloom, make a point to find something…anything about the situation that you might find humorous. For instance, when you accepted the fact you were going to lose your hair, did you cry? Did you wait for it to fall out? Or did your thoughts make you want to do a turnabout? Did you take a moment of control and cut your hair? Or did you decide to color your hair one last time? Or did you take your husband’s clipper and shave your head? I will bet if you did any of these acts of control, you were for a moment laughing at least on the inside, at cancer. You might have even said to yourself, “I’m surviving!” And when you did, I’ll bet your body began to follow your thought.
Now if we can just keep those thoughts flowing, we might be onto something good. If we can keep ourselves aware of how we can change our thoughts, we might just be onto something so simple, so good and so powerful.
My thoughts made me want to do a turnabout. I did take charge and cut my hair short. I did laugh at cancer. My body has followed and continues to follow my thought…10 years and still counting.
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