Universal Pause Button

Posted: April 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Cancer Girl curls up on the chaise lounge on her houseboat’s back deck, the “MonChérie.” 
She tugs the snuggle quilt up over her shoulders a bit more.
Reaching for the newly purchased Indian cuisine cookbook to read, a large black shadow figure
on the shore line catches her eye. She looks up.
The evil villain Frankco Carcinoma stares at her with smug sneer.
She grabs the cookbook, sighs, rolls over, turning her back on him.

    I have become quiet, very quiet. Generally quite is not a familiar adjective attached to my being. But, it seems the larger my temporary breast implants grow, the quieter I’ve become — so much so that my inner circle of loved ones have seriously asked if I’m okay or not. They’ve even said they miss the “old” me.
    For a while I had begun asking myself the very same thing, where was the old me? My best coping skill, my sense of humor, felt flat. I had become so quiet that I had begun to feel untethered to my own identity, lost. My silence on the blog even began to feel like a personal failure.
    I had become so quiet and flat that I felt I was failing me.
    Then a couple of weeks ago I watched Jennifer Hudson on American Idol belt out her new song, “Where You At.” Her beautiful strong voice emoted confusion, sorrow and justified indignation. She was asking a loved one who had promised to be there for her through good times and bad times, that failed on their promises, “where you at?”
    A few days later I found myself gazing into the bathroom mirror and passionately asking myself  “Where you at?” I hung my head and sighed, because I didn’t know. I couldn’t articulate within my own being as to where I was at because I couldn’t quite grasp what I was feeling, let alone why. In a way, I didn’t recognize who was staring back at me. I felt like the bad person in Jennifer’s song. Like I wasn’t standing by my own self when I was needed most.
    I walked away from the mirror knowing I needed to get at the answer as to what was going on. I owed it to myself and my loved ones. I also realized that I owed it to my anonymous blog followers, who I’ve been told, read and pass along this blog of my journey through breast cancer for inspiration.
       A day or so after I had gazed into the mirror and asked, “where you at?” my ever reliable subconscious mind pinged me awake with an image. With a mini movie like clip it perfectly described how I had been feeling about my current placement in reality. This was the first step toward finding my answer.
    In the movie clip image I saw Grand Central Station at peak rush hour. Everyone was rushing about living their daily complex lives — yet I was the one lone stationary breathing thing there, inert, taking up space — day after day, after day. I felt guilty about it.
    Normally I do not do guilt. It’s a waste of emotional and mental energy. Take responsibility for what you’ve done or said, apologize to the injured person, forgive yourself, learn from it and then move on. Yet, I was feeling guilty. It was slowly breaking down my spirit.

    I was feeling guilty because on a daily basis everyone else around me was juggling all kinds of tasks, responsibilities, children, jobs, family crises and even chemotherapy, and I wasn’t. I was “just” overly tired from the discomfort and lack of restorative sleep due to the rock hard temporary breast implants.
    Here all of these people around me were dealing with so much more every day and my big accomplishment for an entire day might be getting my dishes done; doing a couple of loads of laundry; going grocery shopping; or, on a really rough day, just getting dressed, eating and tending to my cat.
    That may sound stupid to you, to feel guilty about having to take it easy after major surgery. To have to ask for help because you need it to accomplish simple things because the process of going through breast reconstruction zaps your already low Fibromyalgia energy levels.
    But, to me, it had begun to feel humiliating to repeatedly answer my Honey’s nightly question, “So, how was your day? What did you do today?” with “I got my dishes done. That was my big accomplishment for the day.” Or worse yet, “I wanted to get the dishes done today but I just didn’t have the energy to do them. I took a three hour nap instead.”
    Fortunately I’d been gifted a clue. I had the image of the Grand Central Station in my head now. It helped me identify why I hadn’t aligned myself properly with where my new chunk of the Universe was at. I was looking for my placement, my self-worth in the wrong places and ended up feeling guilty for not being in sync with the fast paced world.
    The answer, I wasn’t cutting myself any slack. All that was left now was to shed the guilt and get back in balance again. 

Swami Scruffy Duffie

    Then with perfect Universal timing a friend passed along a funny email. In it was a picture of a dog meditating. It inspired me into realizing I just needed to realign my Carcinoma Samurai Warrior skills. I needed to meditate, willingly retreat, create my own little portable ashram.
    No warrior can fight full strength non-stop. As my Honey keeps telling me, there are times when one needs to simply rest, heal and regain their strength. Retreating, resting is a valuable warrior skill too — now is my time for this.
    Without any guilt I’ve hit the Universal Pause Button. It’s time for me to cut myself some freak’n slack.
    One of my very own old quotes that I sputtered out decades ago, and have lived by ever since, resounded loudly again, like a battle cry …

“Reality is relative. Live accordingly.”

    Dr. S during my injection session last Friday said to me, “You’re in the roughest part now. But you’re doing really good. You have no idea how good you’re doing.”
    So, for the next two to three months while I go through the over expansion phase of breast reconstruction, I will endure the painful aftermath of stretching my breast’s skin, the mastectomy’s scar tissue and ripping my chest wall muscles apart after each saline injection session. And, I will endure the constant discomfort and fatigue from low quality sleep.
   But, I will endure all of this without anymore guilt. Because, I will be studying the spiritual aspects of my navel fuzz at Swami Scruffy Duffie’s portable ashram. Her ashram (notice the dog IS a female, of course I looked!) will reside inside of me. It’s peaceful quietness will no longer haunt me, it will give me strength.

    So, as you look like you’re traveling at the speed of light while you go about your normal day, I will slowly putz around my guilt free day. I’ll sit in my backyard and watch the wind dance with the trees. Read a book. Not do my dishes. I’ll pay close attention to the latest political scandal being played out by the thriving community of birds here. Luckily the squirrels are great finks. I’m sure they’ll gladly update me after I’ve taken a nap — guilt free.
    Now if only somebody would train some squirrels to wash some stink’n dirty dishes.

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