From PAUSE to PLAY
When I began my Chemo journey, it felt as if a PAUSE button for my life had been pushed.
All of my usual activities came to a halt. I was no longer actively engaged with life. I was PAUSED.
I was no longer shopping, reading, enjoying big belly laughs, doing morning yoga, cooking, or making To-Do lists.
I was no longer making cold calls to potential future clients, co-creating workshop activities with my business partner, presenting, writing, cooking or traveling.
I was no longer adding appointments to my calendar or meeting friends for an impromtu meal or going for long walks with my dog.
I was no longer shopping, cleaning my house or networking.
I was no longer styling my hair, having facials or massages.
My usual focus on determining what fun and stimulating thing I can do next was gone.
Instead, I was simply living day to day, managing each side effect as it presented itself.
My focus was to be present and observe myself as I lived through this new and temporary shift in my life. Although my normal life activities were on PAUSE, I was still ALIVE, so I needed to adapt.
What saved me from the potential of misery and suffering was that I knew my PAUSE was temporary. I knew I would eventually climb out of the Chemo hole and gradually return to my personal version of normal. I knew resisting the process would not change anything, other than make me more miserable. Acceptance was my only choice if I wanted to not lose my joy.
The bad news was I did not know exactly what was going to happen next or how long my repeated PAUSES would go on.
Actually, not knowing what is going to happen next in our lives is true for all of us, all of the time. But during Chemo, there was an occasional tinge of fear within me that perhaps my life will never truly return to normal since this journey was all unchartered territory.
The good news that comes with living life while on PAUSE is the learning that comes with the experience. Naturally, no matter what is going on within us or around us, there is always something to learn and I have been receiving my fair share of learning on a regular basis.
I learned how adaptable I was when things were tough. Perhaps it is because I had years of practicing the art of acceptance, rather than resisting the challenges that periodically showed up in my life before this adventure began.
I also learned how much PLAY truly means to me as well as the importance of having sponantaneous, creative fun on my agenda on a regular basis.
Now that Chemo is complete, I learned my body is recovering more slowly than what I expected due to the gradual poisoning of my healthy cells that has been going on for the past five months.
I learned not to compare my story, my treatment or my body’s response to anyone else’s experience.
Through all the learning that has come to me I have to admit I have still been trying to rush the process to be back on PLAY full time, expecting my normal energy and physical abilities to be back at full force. I’m pretty much a living example of “So close, but yet so far.”
I have learned that I cannot rush the processes that are taking their own sweet time to re-start. Although my mind is a powerful tool, I have not been able to quicken the regrowth of hair on my head or stimulate my magnesium level or my hemoglobin to return to normal.
I have learned to accept that my desire to get things done may be inconsistent and that my recurring fatigue may stick around for awhile longer.
I have learned to celebrate the intermittent bursts of energy signaling my PLAY button has been pushed and to peacefully accept the fact that I may be put back on PAUSE once again, without warning.
Since I have no choice (other than taking good care of myself) I will ride this process of my PAUSE and PLAY buttons being randomly pushed. I will celebrate every time I truly get to PLAY and do something fun so belly laughs will once again be the norm.
Once enough time passes I trust I will once again constantly be on PLAY mode. What will be different is I will remember how it feels to be PAUSED, which will cause me to be even more grateful.