Friday, February 6, 2015

A Change Is As Good As A Rest,

I saw the radiation oncologist yesterday, and he recommended 15-20 radiation treatments, rather than chemo, as these new tumours are close to the surface, and palpable, unlike the original lumps, which were in my lymph nodes. Those two original lumps remain shrunken back to a normal size, so that's good.  I'm still gaining weight gradually, and that too is an excellent sign, given the circumstances. 

As my primary oncologist commented to us at my first appointment with her last year - apart from the cancer, I'm in excellent health.

Later in the afternoon, I met with a doctor and nurse from the pain and symptom department, because the pain from the cancer has been increasing to the point that I have become very uncomfortable. 

After giving me prescriptions for several medications, the doctor spoke for some time about how if I were not to use the meds as prescribed; if I waited until my pain was unbearable before taking them, instead of keeping an eye on the clock, and seeing that it was time for the next dose, they are ineffective. He listened carefully as Robert told him that I have a tendency to wait and hope that the pain will go away without my needing to do anything about.

(This is the third doctor who has given me the same talk about pain medication.)

Which brings me to today's topic - self-care.

I was raised in a home where my pain was negated, dismissed, minimised and mocked-  whether it be mental, emotional, or physical. It was made abundantly clear to all members of that family, that only one person's pain mattered- my adoptive mother.

After breaking her pelvis in a fall just after her 98th birthday, and spending 5 weeks in hospital, she died a week ago this past Monday. It feels strange to know that she is finally gone from this world. I'd made my peace with her, and had no anger or resentment left towards her for many years now, thanks to this wondeful program.

But I realise that even after all this time working my program, I still have patterns of ingrained thinking which can catch me unawares. One such, is the belief that I need to keep my physical pain to myself, minimise it, not "bore" others with complaint or even mention of it, and that somehow, it's my own fault that I'm in pain. 

How this is the case, I cannot articulate clearly even to myself, but I struggle against that one often.  I need to remind myself that I'm not to blame for getting cancer, and that I deserve relief from the pain.

I deserve relief.

I'm a good person, and I deserve all of the wonders that life, love, and the blessings of Al-Anon have to offer. It's my choice as to whether I accept love, caring and relief from pain. I wouldn't expect Robert, my sister or brother, or a dear friend to suffer in the way that I've felt I deserved to suffer, because I believed that I was a bad person.


  1. Thank you for this. I so needed to hear this today. Lovely post. Glad that you are getting some pain relief too. Stay well. I am praying for you.

  2. Please follow your dr.s instructions on the pain management. It is far easier to manage your pain in regular increments of time then trying to bring it back under control over and over again. You do deserve to be comfortable. ❤️

  3. I understand wanting to minimize discomfort. I did that for years. I had to be strong no matter what. Very stoic is how I am mostly viewed, but I have softened those hard edges a lot in Al-Anon.

    Hope that your pain is alleviated.

  4. I absolutely love your blog. It is like a personal bible to me that when I read it, brings instant centeredness, a grounding, and a connection to HP. Please listen to your doctors--I know I sound like a Mom. The notion of keeping one's blood serum levels constant with opiates (or other pain meds) seemed totally foreign to I would prefer to test myself to see if I could live without. But that just leads to more pain, and more suffering. Allow your body and your mind and your being to live pain-free in what is already a challenging time.