The Time Of Reflection
And so it is a New Year. For many it is a time of reflection: What do I wish for myself? For my family? For the world? What accomplishments made in the previous year can I be proud of? Did I reach my goals? Did I keep my resolutions? What about my life, has changed for the better? What do I wish to celebrate? This is the New Year. This is the time of reflection.
But not for me. The New Year no longer holds this meaning for me. I used to feel the anticipation and excitement of something new; creating achievable goals for myself – achievable if I worked hard and committed my time and energy to them – marking down the things I wanted out of life, and the changes I wanted to make. It was exciting to hang that unmarked calendar on the wall that was boasting the new year, and taunting me to fill in the little squares with life events and pursuits. But January 01st isn’t my New Year. Not anymore. My New Year is now celebrated on June 24th, the date I was treated for breast cancer.
Having cancer, and recovering from it, changes your perspective. It alters your mindset. Your reflections are not what they once were. Not really. It is very difficult for me to put into words – exactly – the feelings, thoughts, and raw emotions that daily course through your veins post-cancer. And because I can’t articulate it, I don’t expect someone who hasn’t gone through it or lived it, to truly understand. Life is just different. So this New Year’s was different for me. I knew that our calendar year was changing, but I felt (and feel) as though I am in mid-year. I know I feel this way because of June 24th.
In June of 2015 my life goals were put on hold while I was treated for and then recovered from breast cancer; and into 2016 my focus continued to be on healing, both emotionally and physically; to make it through the bone scan, mammogram, two ultra sounds, biopsy, genetic testing, and appointments without crumbling to pieces; and to learn to control the manifested fears I had of the cancer reoccurring. And with each tiny bit of good news, the anxiety, fear, angst, and worry lessened little by little. As 2016 progressed, and I continued to work on my emotional and physical recovery I hit road bumps along the way. I had a benign axillary lymph node that showed reactive changes that my doctor was monitoring. I had pain radiating up and down on my right side, just an inch below my underarm that felt like bruising to the touch. I was battling through a slightly displaced shoulder (a result of the mastectomy, and something I am still in treatment for). But these issues were being monitored and treated. The radiating pain, I learned from my Oncologist, was nerve damage and nothing more, which may or may not subside (it has not as yet). And with these ongoing issues and concerns, the approach to, and surpassing of, my 1-year Cancerversary was almost too much for me to bear. I felt emotions rip through me on astronomical levels. To cope with the intensity of it all, I made the decision to create a new memory for June 24th – it would be a celebration of life, love, family, and adventure. We laughed, we cried, we reflected; and to cap off the Cancerversary we met with my family and enjoyed a huge celebratory dinner out … with NO mention of cancer. I passed my one year and that, to me, felt like a New Year.
My goals set on June 24th, 2016 were to continue along on my path of healing, to achieve inner peace by placating my fears and anxiety, and to take back control of my life. I am now in the middle of my 2nd Cancerversary, and I am working on these goals every day. With the healing hands of my physiotherapist and my massage therapist I have regained momentum, movement, and strength. With the help of my Social Worker I found valuable techniques in easing my anxiety and not giving in to my fears; and through my Blog I found a way to share my journey, which I hope helps others as much as it helps me.
I am ever-so-slowly beginning to feel a distance between me and the cancer. I hope that, one day, I can feel peace within.
The Time Of Reflection. Published by Crystal Joy Hall