I’ve been quiet, not just on here but in my day to day as well. Since coming back from Mexico I feel like everything has sent me more inward. I wanted to keep moving forward, to keep leaping ahead but that hasn’t quite happened. Instead it feels like more has come to the surface and pieces I thought/hoped I had healed have come back up.
I’ve been struggling for a while now, I feel like I take two steps forward and one back and I’m weary of that. I need to find my fight, the inner pulse or drive to overcome this.
I don’t believe the narrative that stage 4 cancer is a death sentence, I know of too many people who have healed and overcome it so I know it can be done. I want to heal, to have a body free of cancer and I will keep aiming for that. Lately I’ve lost some of my fight, that strength that was pushing me forward so vehemently determined and some of the inner knowing that I was taking the right steps. The last two years have been hard, there’s been times of incredible joy, love, adventure and gratitude mixed right in there but overall this hasn’t been an easy chapter. Looking back a year ago I’m not where I wanted to be now, I was so determined to heal and so determined to do it quickly all the while trying to convince everyone else I was ‘fine’ and that I ‘had this’. I jumped through hoops and tried every supplement, healer, treatment, technique that I could possibly fit in. I wanted to live and I wanted to speed through it. My immune system kicked into high gear and I got some great results but I also skipped steps. I didn’t dive all the way in, I skirted around the edges all while repeating old patterns.
Now I’m almost two years in, I feel tired, weary and fed up. I’m frustrated and annoyed. How am I back here? I know I’m not in the same position I was, I know there’s a lot less cancer even if there are some new bits. I know all the knowledge and learning from the last two years will help me. But it’s harder too because I’m not so naive, I know how hard the last two years were. I feel a little depleted now. I will rise, I will fight but I’m having an inner tug of war with my soul to not retreat. So right now it’s two steps forwards and one step back, it’s not as fast as I want, it’s not perfect but it’s what I’ve got.
I turned 30 in April, I had had dreams and ideas of being cancer free by then, but in reality I found out two days after it that I had a spot on my spine now too. Not exactly how I had dreamed of entering the next decade. But I’m learning to be ok with that, to treat myself with more kindness and compassion and to let myself be vulnerable.
When I saw my doctors in April they didn’t hear me. My nurse wasn’t there that day and they were run ragged going from patient to patient with no moment for even a breath in between. I had three of them in front of me but they weren’t really listening, they were too caught in the hospital narrative and system. They wanted me back following their path, back on their medication and back in for more radiotherapy. I went in with concerns and questions about all of the scarring and fibrosis I already have from my radiotherapy. They just brushed that off with, it was to be expected but this radiotherapy to the spine doesn’t create as much scarring. Sorry but no, I did the radiotherapy once, I don’t regret doing it but I am now living with the consequences of it and trying to reverse those.
What I found most shocking about the whole appointment was they didn’t even take my bloods. Normally I would have the bloods done first but I had left the blood forms at home so I needed new ones. They gave them to me but told me to use them when I’m back in August and I didn’t need bloods that day as I wasn’t on treatment. The last time I had bloods done was back in November, here I was 5 months later with changes on my CT some of which were unclear and they didn’t even want to check my blood tumour markers. That to me just seemed ridiculous. To me their attitude the whole appointment just came off that they didn’t have time or space for me because I wasn’t doing it their way. I’m not doing it my way to be challenging, I’m doing it my way because the side effects from their treatment were so debilitating and the treatment they offered me was only ever meant to be palliative. If they had offered me a curative treatment protocol then maybe I would be doing that but they didn’t and it’s not the path I am on. My issues are with the conventional medical system, not the individuals working in it, it’s a rigid overstretched system. My main consultant normally takes the time to see you as a person and not just another patient file to get through but he was overstretched and he didn’t that day, I don’t take it personally I just think their system is broken.
I need to do this my way and if that means I make some mistakes along the way then I’m ok with that. I know in my mind, body and soul that I’m done with allopathic medicine for now. It doesn’t sit right with me personally for this journey. I’m not sitting by and doing nothing either. There are so many layers and I am trying everything I can. My calendar is filled with different appointments and my supplements shelf is always bulging and those are only two pieces.
So how else can I support myself through the next phase? Or maybe more importantly how can I allow myself to be supported and held. The first one feels so simple yet I haven’t managed it much yet. The sea has been calling me, I spend time by the water nearly everyday but I find it hard to get in right now. I went in the other day, down off the jetty. The first few steps were easy but then the water reached my waist. My abdomen and chest tightened and the panic rose. I breathed out, I took another step in, I settled my breathing and lowered myself in. I had this, the water was there to help me not to make things worse. I’ll go back to the sea but I’ll also try to be kind to myself when I find it hard. The sea is great for the lymphatic system and with the radiotherapy scarring I could really use that but there are reasons why I find it hard too. I have nerve pain that often flares up when I’m cold, the sea didn’t set it off but my mind can’t disconnect the connection between cold and pain. It’s not just that either, my breathing isn’t at it’s strongest right now, my lungs have been through a lot and with scarring and little cancer nodules still there sometimes it can feel a bit harder to breathe. Again the sea will help with this too but it still brings up some panic and anxiety.
There is more than just the sea, there are plenty of pieces, there is a lot coming up right now for me around suppressed emotions and a need to be more vulnerable, to not close off and to let people in. I’ve always tried to be in control, it’s been my coping mechanism for as long as I can remember and it’s got me through a lot. It’s been good but it’s also done harm, I’ve suppressed so much and held myself back from pieces. I won’t break these patterns in a day but I will keep trying and that’s all you can ever do really. So I am showing up here, I’m not healed, I’m not cancer free and it’s slow but I’m trying.