Friday, August 22, 2014

Humour Opens Our Hearts As Nothing Else Can.

I went for my 5th chemo treatment yesterday. I had just made myself comfortable in the chair, when a woman about my age, and her friend, were led to the chairs directly across the aisle. They were discussing IV's, and how the friend could not for the life of her watch the IV being inserted. Because they seemed open and friendly, I commented that I was the same, I can't watch, or I begin to feel a strange wooziness.

We began to joke  back and forth, and soon were laughing hilariously over each other's dog, family member, and doctor, stories. It was wonderful, the time flew by, while we kept ourselves vastly entertained for almost three hours, until Robert arrived to get me, and they too were finished, and going home.

I was thinking about it later, and realised that this time, chemo was fun, because these two women were funny, friendly, open, thoughtful, kind, all sorts of good things, and willing to share of themselves with me. It would have been very easy to have just been a group of two, I see that often in the chemo room - people may say hello and smile politely, but they don't want to talk, and I respect that.  So I read, or lay back in the chair and think of all of the things for which I am grateful, including chemo, or maybe even doze a bit.

Robert sat with me through the entire first chemo, but I've convinced him that I don't need him to do that, and he can easily drop me off, then come for the last 15-20 minutes until I'm unhooked and can leave. He feels guilty, as if he's abandoning me. I know I have his support, I don't need him to be stuck in there for 3 hours with me, I feel better if he goes off and does whatever he needs to do in the intervening time. I take books to read, and I have always been able to entertain myself when I'm alone, so if the people in the chairs around me don't want to talk, I read, or people watch.  He felt better this time, to meet these women and hear that we had been laughing for almost 3 hours together.

It was fun to enjoy chemo. I'm so grateful for all the gifts in my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Do What You Can And Let The Rest Go.

I told my GP when I was in to see him yesterday, that I felt as though I have had enough blood taken from me in the last two weeks, to fill a small dog. A Pomeranian, perhaps? We laughed together, and then had an excellent discussion on the way that serious illness can suddenly make clear to a person just what is and is not important.

Some of us are fortunate, and have had enough time in twelve-step programs, that we can already grasp to some extent, what matters and what truly does not. I find myself full of gratitude that I've had all these years in Al-Anon; I can just picture the roiling mass of anger, resentment and self-pity that I would be in this position, had I not had years learning to seek humility and serenity.

If I want peace, I need to do what I can, and let the rest go. I might be able to go out and walk in the park after treatment, but I also might only be able to come home and sleep for hours. It will be what it will be, and I have no control over it. What I do have are friends, my wonderful Robert, and a good solid program to help me get through whatever I am facing. I am content.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What We Fear Consumes Us.

I had a day recently of obsession, around and around inside my head, unable to get past it, unable to get by it, chained to that circular route of thought. Horrible. I haven't had a day like that in a long time. The only way to break the obsession was to go for a nap. When I woke up, I was no longer  obsessed. What a relief!

I find it hard to believe that I once lived my life like that, substituting one obsession for another, never being able to live at peace inside my own head. I think that may be partly why I read so much; when I was reading, I wasn't thinking about the current obsession.

And where did all that obsessing take me? To misery, time and again, but I hadn't any clue about how to break it, how to get out of it, how to avoid starting in the first place. I had to be in program for quite some time before I realised that some thoughts were just not good ones upon which to dwell - they were the opening bars to an obsession.

I was trapped inside a prison of my own thinking, with no awareness of that reality. I remember feeling very doubtful when anyone in a meeting would talk about "changing their thinking." I was so far removed from that, I couldn't even imagine it. My first attempts were more like pleading with my Higher Power to help me get off a road upon which I'd purposefully set out, hours earlier. I recall walking with my dog, and saying the first line of the Serenity Prayer repeatedly, anything to try to stop the obsessing.

There have been times when the only way I knew I'd been obsessing, was with the feeling of overwhelming relief that washed over me when I managed, somehow, to stop.

My fears consumed my life without me knowing - if anything, I would have considered my worry "prudent."  It was an awful way to live, and the only way out was with Al-Anon. I learned to control, to some extent, my own thinking. I learned that some topics were forbidden if I wanted peace. I couldn't say to myself "I'll just worry for half an hour, then the rest of the evening, I'll do something else." For me, it doesn't work that way, if I allow a fear headroom, it will consume me. I may appear to be living my life, but I'm not really there. My body is, my mind is miles away, trapped on a circular treadmill.