Moving Forward from the Strife
Last year, in my post Baby Steps, I reflected upon my 2yr Cancerversary – the baby steps that I had taken and the ones I still needed to take. I discussed moving forward from the strife and outlined what I needed to do. And so, as my 3yr Cancerversary fast approaches, I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year – on the baby steps I have taken to the giant leaps I have courageously made to the setbacks I have encountered. It hasn’t been easy but I have been fortunate to receive support from loved ones, friends, colleagues, and professionals. I’ve journeyed down this path – not on my own – but at my own pace.
I encountered set-backs this year. In the fall I had a biopsy. A lump was found just below my scar, close to my chest wall. Although I was reassured that it appeared normal, I was scared. Waiting for the biopsy results threw me into that dark place, which I didn’t want to return to – but there I was in the midst of it. My thoughts were jumbled, my mood was chaotic. After waiting 9 days, I received the results. The lump was benign – pure joy and immense relief. However, I suffered a minor infection from the procedure, resulting in a loss of mobility, loss of strength, and radiating pain in the area. Even now – 8 months later – I feel the limitations as a result of the procedure. My second set-back was a tear in my bicep tendon, right at the shoulder – my left shoulder – my good shoulder. I caused the injury while doing my strengthening exercises for my right shoulder. I could not have been more angry with myself. A result of this self-inflicted injury meant that all my strengthening exercises were stripped away from me. Setbacks.
I took baby steps forward, despite the setbacks. I introduced Adult Barre into my bi-weekly routine. With my background in dance, choosing this form of exercise as my gentle strength-training was only natural. As a result of my commitment to the class as well as myself I have dramatically improved my range of motion, my balance, my core strength, my energy, and my inner happiness. I feel an encouraging difference from deep within. I have also started biking again. Only recently was I cleared to bike ride without concern of re-injury. So, down from the rafters my beautiful bicycle came, and after a scrub down, tire pump, and brake check I was off. The freedom I felt was glorious! With these two small baby steps came great emotional satisfaction. I felt like I took back something that cancer took away from me. I took it back.
The giant leap I made, quite recently, was an emotional one – believing there is more for me. As I expressed in my post New Beginnings, I felt a deep inner shift. I began to contemplate my life of late, and I began to wonder where, exactly, I wish to grow to; how I wish to further transform; and what courageous choices I will make. In short, I began to dream. This is huge for me, because I have not planned for or considered my future since my diagnosis. I had stalled. However, since having these thoughts, I’ve actively been working toward growth and change. I’m learning new computer programs – new skills. I’m challenging myself. And I am excited at the potential.
Of course, surviving cancer is a journey – one that has many ups as well as downs. And although I smile often and laugh more freely, I am also prone to tears, to crumbling from the fear, the trauma, and the frustration. And though I may shed tears, I always get back up, dust myself off, and keep moving forward. I do what I can to help raise awareness. I keep fighting. I beat back the fears. And I keep living. Because that is the point. The point to surviving cancer is to go out and live your life – to feel it, to nurture it, to invest in it.
And so, as my 3yr Cancerversary fast approaches I plan to allow myself to feel all the tumultuous and overwhelming feelings that inevitably resurface during this delicate time. But I will also stand against it. I will brave the waves – riding them – and keep moving forward because we must always move forward from the strife.
Moving Forward from the Strife. Published by Crystal Joy Hall