All entries for January 2007
January 29, 2007
Sorry for the bad pun, but my hair is starting to grow at last. It's no more than a light covering, growing from the back up, but at least my head is warmer when I go out. My wig is great, but the wind whistles through it, so having some hair really makes a difference. This picture shows my mother and I just before Christmas on a good day, I would like my hair to look like this in the future.
I am still working on self-compassion. Meditation and stillness is something that is really important to me. Some days I can get a few seconds of stillness, but at other times it becomes difficult. I am working on developing a self-compassion visual image. Light and warmth are at the centre of my image. It is fun trying to capture the essence. Not easy, although I have found images that help me on the way. My energy levels are up and down. I have good days whenI don't collapse on the sofa in a stupor, not drinking, just a complete loss of energy. I find it really strange how it happens. Trying to balance my expenditure of energy so that I keep some in reserve is something I am learning.
It is so much better now that I am having the Herceptin only. It means fewer visits to the hospital. Fewer blood tests and fewer waits to see the consultant to tell him I have few side effects. I find going to the hospital really stressful, so it is good to only have to go for the Hercpetin. Even better that there are no immediate side effects from it.
Energy is building up, which is great. Althought talking to the clinical health psychologist it can take up to a year to feel normal after chemo. Mind you , I am trying to change normal to be more calm and able to be more in the now.
January 16, 2007
I am reading the Tao Te Ching which is a philosophy that I find very supportive and helpful in the changes I am working on. I find the notion of stillness and not forcing an idea that appeals. The thinking contradicts so much of our beliefs and behaviour in the western world. However, it really helps me to reflect on the changes I am trying to make. It is strange though, using words like trying, it suggests forcing, which is not what I am doing. I see it as more “repeated practice” which the Dalai Lama suggests is important for change.
All that I am doing is about not doing. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it really is not. I have used the Alexander Technique for years to help mitigate back problems. What I am finding now is that its principles of not doing really help with relaxation and the focus on building up energy.
Being at peace and having inner stillness are characteristics that are not easy to develop. I have fifty odd years of habit to undo. Self-compassion is growing, and I am working on “seeing the glass half full”. Mindfulness is also an interesting concept which is really helpful to pause and reflect on body, environment and mind. I would like to see children taught these concepts and ways of being, I am sure it would help them to survive and grow in school.
My energy levels are up and down. I know that I have about three hours before I wilt. Taking things slowly and steadily helps. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do everything. I have started at a new health club and am slowly bringing myself back to fitness. The trick is not to expect too much too soon and to be pleased with what I have achieved, however small.
January 09, 2007
The chemotherapy is over. I had the last dose on December 8th. It knocked me out more than the others and I have been very tired. The good thing was that I got the worst of it all out of the way before Christmas. Christmas was relaxed and the whole family came up from London to see us which was great. We even decided to ask our local Indian restaurant to cater for us, so no effort which meant we could enjoy the comapny and not worry about cooking.
I am finding that my energy comes in bursts. I can have a good day, but it will take a couple of days of me sitting like a zombie to recover. Reading is difficult and sometimes even watching TV is a strain. I have just got back to my relaxation and meditation. Trying to do it with the whole family around is quite difficult. I have found the afternoon is a good time. This is once I have persuaded the kids to turn down the boom boom of their music.
Buliding on the self compassion and changing through doing nothing requires me to be kind to myself, which is often difficult as changing the habits of a lifetime are not easy. I do feel good when I get the moments of stillness. I realise that happiness depends upon feeling good.
The thought of going back to work is an idea too far at the moment and still upsets me. This is when I know that I am still learning to change. All the poeple who care say I need to focus on my health. Decisions on work are not important for now as I am not well enough to make serious decisions.
I am enjoying being at home, resting, meditating, relaxing, baking, starting projects that are fun such as a family recipe book and visualising self-compassion through images from the web. Small things but achievable and support the feeling of being relaxed.
I am still me and it is great to have friends that value me as I am. I am thankful for their support. My New Years Resolution is to be happy.