I haven’t been completely honest with you. I’ve been accused of making cancer look like a vacation. Honestly parts of it were, but not a vacation I’d ever choose and not a vacation I hope to ever experience again! I suppose I’m a little guilty of “fake it ‘til you make it” syndrome, but I think that’s ok. I think that’s essential to our diet of life. Like toddlers modeling adult behavior, I am modeling what I want to become.
Social media is a dangerous. My experience might have looked like a vacation because during the hardest parts I don’t think I posted anything. I had no energy or desire to do so. Before my surgery there were days I cried when I couldn’t hold my kids because I had been injected with radioactive dye. There were days during chemo where it took all my energy just to get out of bed and some days that I didn’t get out of bed. Not to mention losing my hair and not wanting to face the world. I’d wear my wig like a costume. I was someone else when I put it on. I wasn’t sick. I had my head down and pushed through. I’d wear my wig so my kids could forget. I wore my wig at their request. They didn’t want to see mom sick and frankly you probably didn’t either. I didn’t post pictures on social media. I didn’t share my dark place with you. It’s just not me. When I feel good I sort of forget about the rest. We all get sucked in now and then to how things look on social media especially if we aren’t in a good place. Just remember that NO ONE’S LIFE IS PERFECT and you are only seeing part of the story. People will almost always choose their own problems over someone else’s problems.
Even today, some days I feel overwhelmed by life. Sometimes I feel beaten, like I have no control over life. Keeping track of schedules and responsibilities has been a huge challenge. It’s getting easier but it has taken a very long time. I still forget things a lot. Probably due to my body aging way faster than it should. I still go to NYC often for appointments that take my whole day. Next up is a Neurologist to figure out the remaining effects of chemo on my brain. Some days a finger prick can make me cry, not because it hurts but it hurts enough to remind me how much all of this breast cancer stuff just sucks. I am working hard to turn this into fuel for my journey. I didn’t battle cancer twice to feel like this. I’m choosing to make it an incentive to keep working at balance. I choose to take time to breathe and ground myself. Feeling overwhelmed in the past had a paralyzing effect over me. I was like a deer in headlights. Now I am going back to basics and saying, “ok, re-ground”, “what is out of whack?”, “what is realistic?” This is all I have control over. This is all any of us have control over.
We choose to be happy and if my life looks like a vacation then you know I am choosing happiness.
When jealousy rears its ugly head and makes you feel down, please re-visit the basics in your life. Know you are loved. Take a moment to breathe and nurture yourself. That’s all we need to be happy. Sure, vacations look nice. A beautiful house or a gorgeous yard would be nice, BUT true happiness starts with contentment. Start there. Embrace the basics.