Walking the Line
I’m realizing there is a fine line that I must walk on my Chemo/Cancer adventure. It is the line between vulnerability and strength. I squared off with both yesterday and learned a few lessons.
This is where I have no control. I am at the mercy to how the Chemo drugs will react in my body as well as how my body will respond. It seems that each round has brought some variation of some very uncomfortable side-effects so I am always curious to see what will happen. I have been unable to predict just what I will experience (or when) and what I may need to move through it. I cannot force it to be easy on me, nor can I say with certainty how long my adverse symptoms will last. Each time, I must be vulnerable. . .wait. . .and pray for a break as I ride it out.
When we are in the position of being a patient of any type, trust of our caregivers (doctors, nurses, technicians etc) is mandatory and also puts us in a position of being vulnerable. They are the experts and we, the patients, are in their hands relying on their skills, experience and expertise to guide us back to health. Although I certainly have a say in what care and treatment I agree to, I rely on others to guide me and to administer their care. This means I must be vulnerable to heal and recover.
This form of vulnerability is very similar to that of a child that requires the loving care of a parent. Trusting that my best interests are being managed is imperative. I’ve always been good at trusting others, so perhaps that is why surrendering to vulnerability is not too challenginging for me.
The other side of the line is strength. It does seem odd to even use the word so closely related to vulnerability, but it is clearly more closely related than I ever knew.
Even though I am not in control of how my body will react to the treatments, I am in total control of how I respond to everything that happens to and around me, and that includes dealing with the cancer that has set up shop in my body.
Yesterday was one of those days that kind of threw me for a vulnerable loop. It was my fourth day post-chemo and I experienced a strange case of loopiness. My mind could not focus as if I was on some sort of experimental mind-bending drug. I was also unusually emotional and extremely fatigued, making it a challenge to do the simplest tasks. This experience was new to me as compared to prior chemo episodes and was therefore a bit of a challenge to ride it out.
During this time of being extremely vulnerable and even a bit scared since I had never felt this way before, I watched myself as if I was having an out of body type of experience. What I discovered was even though what was happening to my physical body was out of my control, I was still able to find a place to firmly plant myself in strength.
What helped me was remembering there has never been any situation, condition or discomfort that I have not survived. I knew that just like any other challenging situation, I would ride this one out too.
When I relaxed into that knowing that although I was definitely vulnerable and at the mercy of unseen chemicals eating cancer cells and healthy cells at the same time, my body, mind and spirit knew equilibirium was needed, so I did what typically works for me. I got quiet and noticed. My thoughts got calmer as I consciously breathed and watched myself and before long I fell asleep. I slept for hours and when I awoke, I felt more normal as if I had simply traveled to some unknown land and now returned to what was familiar and peaceful.
My lesson is that no matter what challenge I may need to face and no matter how vulnerable I may be to outside forces, diseases and conditions, I will always have the strength of my mind to remind me that I am not my body. It is simply the home in which my spirit lives.
I will remember there is a stronger power within me beyond, neutrophils, magnesium, potassium and platelets. I intend to hold on to my strength that lives in peace with vulnerability. I will remember that although vulnerabilty exists, I am resting in the palm of God’s hands and that will always give me strength.