Yep, this is me as I face a new year living with MBC!!
**Snicker** Now that I've put a smile on your face... let's talk about resolutions. :)
I do adore the character Dory! I can relate to her in so many ways. Well, I think all of us can in one way or another. We've all had times in our lives where we can relate to the concept of having to get up every day and continue to swim even when we want to give up. Life is hard. And, just when you think it can't get any harder, it does. This is when we have to rely on our inner strength, our inner spirit to carry us through. It is also proof that the strength of our spirit is our most valuable asset. If you nurture your spirit and keep it healthy and strong, it will help you through some of the toughest times. Little Dory's determination and inner strength helped her to carry on despite her challenges. It is a simple but powerful message and one that I now have as my primary goal each and every day.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING!
Not a day goes by that I am not told how good I look or how happy I appear. Apparently I make battling cancer look easy. But, it's not easy at all. My life is a continuous struggle both physically and mentally. Sometimes I wish people could look at me and truly see how much I struggle. It's easy for people to take a quick glance in my direction and make a judgement call that all is well. But, it takes a lot of strength and perseverance to get up every day and take a stab at normalcy, when normal is never truly within my grasp. There is a price to pay for being kept alive by these amazing medications I take. And, that price is sometimes a hard thing to accept. I feel like I am now forced to sit on the sidelines of life. Being unable to fully participate in the things I used to enjoy gets harder and harder as the days pass. My brain gets stuck in a pity party sometimes as I think of all of the things I used to be able to do with ease.
I used to be a jogger... but now, I'm intimidated by a flight of stairs.
I used to be an avid reader... but now, I'm lucky if I can find the energy to finish a book at all.
I used to be a hiker... but, my achy feet will not allow me such challenges.
I used to love to travel... I still do, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy due to my physical limitations.
I used to have control of my health and weight... now, I dread stepping onto a scale and I feel a sense of defeat that I can't control what is happening to my body.
These are just a few of the many issues I face each day that threaten to kill my spirit, make me want to give up. I miss the person I used to be. So much so that sometimes I am tempted to stop treatment just so I can have that person back for a little while, despite the risk. And then I feel guilty that I would put myself at such a risk just so I can have a few minutes of normal again. It feels selfish, but I want it anyway. I want to hike and climb a rigorous trail with my kids like I used too. I want to climb up a mountain. I want to run! Oh, how I miss the rush of adrenaline through my veins after a nice jog.
As I face the New Year I don't really have any resolutions. Making resolutions for better health and a more fulfilling life??? Oh, how I wish that were possible! :) No, that is not really within my grasp. So, instead, I'll just get up every day and...
While I'm swimming, I will try to find small moments of joy, small victories in which to celebrate and small accomplishments to feed my spirit. I will do this as a sit on the sidelines of the life in which I used to be able to participate fully. I will do this even if it is hard. Giving up has never been in my nature. And I refuse to let cancer take that part of me when it's already taken so much.
Despite all of my struggles, I do have so much to be grateful for. My cancer meds have been working incredibly well. I can't tell you how blessed I am to be going into my twentieth cycle of my first treatment plan with no progression. I am also still holding a No Evidence of Active Disease status! Even my oncologist is amazed at how well I've been doing. Yes, I am incredibly blessed and lucky to be one of the few to be able to walk side by side with "the stable boy". Lol... a little joke between me and my MBC friends. We all want a date with the "stable boy". :) I know that this is something not to take for granted when so many of my MBC brothers and sisters are struggling with treatment failures and progression. I have been given time that is not given to everyone. I will strive to do my best not to waste it. It is a gift, even if it's not ideal.
I am also definitely blessed with a beautiful, strong and amazing family. My husband, children and son-in-law... gosh, they make me so very proud. Each one of them holds unique talents and strengths. They are all very giving, very talented, and I have no doubt they will leave positive footprints behind as they continue on their own journeys through life. It is what every parent wants, to see their children succeed and be good human beings. All of my children are exceptional people. They are my greatest accomplishments.
I am continuously grateful for the strength of perseverance of my husband. It's not easy to be a caregiver. He has to carry a much larger load on his shoulders now. He has also lost that normalcy we used to have together. It's not easy, and sometimes it shows. But, he always manages to pull himself back together and does what needs to be done. His commitment to me has not gone unnoticed. I love him more each and every day. I am very blessed and lucky to have him in my life.
I know that I am not alone in my struggles. So many of my friends and family are also struggling with illness and loss. And, to each one of you I hope and pray that you continue to find strength in the coming year to face the difficult challenges of life with perseverance and courage. I know it seems silly to compare your challenges to a cute little fish named Dory... but, it really does fit the challenges we face every day... don't ya' think??
Just keep going...
just keep trying...
just keep marching on...
just keep swimming!