Yesterday, I started to ache. Not any real pain but an all around body ache similar to that of the flu. Since I have been walking every day, doing yoga here and there and even some light housekeeping, I was baffled. Yesterday afternoon, it finally occurred to me to take some Tylenol - I can only take Tylenol-based pain meds. When that did not work, I filled a prescription for Vicodin. Relief! However, as the day wore on, I came to the realization that these aches and pains are typical symptoms of chemotherapy. With that thought, I struggle again with the realities of this disease and my faith wains, even if ever so slightly.
It is the easiest thing to question: Faith - faith in religion; faith in my decisions; faith others place in me to make smart decisions; and faith in others to carry on projects to which I hold dear. I am learning that the connection between these varying forms of faith is immeasurably important to me. They are not mutually exclusive and on days like today, especially significant.
Every day when I wake up, for a moment, there is no cancer. I am just a wife, mom, a daughter, a sister, a colleague, a cousin and a friend. As the realization of the cancer dawns with the new day, my thoughts turn to, "what is the best decision that I can make for myself today." Whether it be not touching a trash can, sleeping an hour longer, getting the kids a ride to school or braving the work environment, I take each decision literally and contemplate the risks associated. I have faith in my decisions, both the large ones and those that are seemingly small.
I also consider myself lucky to be a medical professional, well read in random areas of my profession with colleagues abound. I was once told by a former colleague, that one of my greatest strengths lie in my ability to listen to all information given to me, detailed, random and not and effectively and clearly assimilate the most important information for presentation.
This unique perspective is serving me well. I easily rule out information that is not "productive" for me think about and discuss, leading me to another important area of faith, faith from others that I will make smart decisions. My physical limitations are becoming more obvious as I face the realities of being a cancer patient and learn what my super-human powers can't overcome. While my can-do spirit will always prevail, I am finding my energy is much better utilized believing I can do things as opposed to focusing on things that that I should not do. My white blood cell count is abysmal. That being said, I cannot hide under a rock either. Bottom line, please do not tell me that I can not or should not do something - I already know. I am just not giving it power.
As far as faith in others to complete projects that I hold dear - well, I had to get over myself for this one. I am a perfectionist in almost every aspect of my life. When I had to leave work last week for this past chemo treatment, I had to leave my colleagues with projects in a state that was far from comfortable for me. The projects were not finished - some barely started. I finally came to the realization that I had to have faith in my colleagues in their support of me as well as faith that my projects would be addressed effectively.
Since I have been home, I have been working to carry this concept into other areas of my life. For example, my cousin, Liz asked if she could help decorate my house for Christmas sometime next week. YES! And if Liz wants to hang the Christmas wreaths from the ceiling because that is what she thinks looks good, then so be it. I will love it just the same. Basically, I have come to the conclusion that in the short run, things may not always get done the way I would do them, but things will get done. And they will get done fabulously! (By the way, Liz has awesome taste - so I am sure the house will look great!)
As far as Faith in God - well, I appreciate my own spiritual beliefs as well as those of people around me. I will come to terms with my faith in my own way. It is coming along and its importance will shine.
So, as here I sit typing this blog, I watch my dog prance around the living room - he has faith that he is going to get a treat. I listen to my kids watching cartoons - I have faith that they will stay up way too late tonight. I watch my husband sleeping in his chair - he has faith in me. And as I sit here, I have faith in myself, knowing I did the best I could today. How could any ache or pain trump that?