Today makes exactly 1 week that my son has been hospitalized (again) and I have told less than a handful of people. I just don’t have the energy anymore to update people on every single thing that goes wrong cause it gets exhausting. To be honest, I don’t want to talk about Cancer 24hrs a day. I don’t mind updating any one who asks but I won’t volunteer the information because I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” so I just keep it to myself & go about my daily life like nothing’s wrong.
I remember when my youngest was first diagnosed with Autism. That was an incredibly difficult journey for my family. Before he was diagnosed we didn’t know what was wrong with him. We didn’t know if he was deaf or just had a learning disability. The daily high pitch screaming, violent meltdowns, sleepless nights drove me into the deepest depression of my life and at that point I had to seek profession help for myself. After my son was properly diagnosed & began receiving therapy, I started coming to terms with our new life. I delved into my inner creative self and began writing randomly in a notebook. I would observe my son, wonder what he was thinking and just write endlessly. Years later, I decided to write a book written in his viewpoint. My book was published 6 years ago and that’s a part of me I don’t talk about. I did it for myself. It was therapeutic & I wasn’t looking for glory amongst my friends.
Everyone has a hidden self they don’t disclose just because. I throw myself into writing cause that’s where I bury my pain and Yoga lets it slowly come out. My pain is something I try to work through. Keeping extremely busy is therapeutic. I try to remain optimistic but I’m aware of my truths. Everyone has a chapter they don’t read out loud are you aware of yours?
It seems that we’re coming full circle with my sons Cancer diagnosis. I remember this time a year ago he was at his worst physically. He lost an unbelievable amount of weight, couldn’t eat, in pain all the time and could barely walk. About a month after treatment he seemed to make a full recovery. The pain was gone, he was walking…even hiking & biking at one point and gained so much weight he was talking about diets, lol. I vividly remember our appointment after his first Pet-Scan, nervously awaiting the news about his treatment progress. The Oncologist came in and the first thing she did was hug him and said the scan showed there was no trace of Cancer in his body. I cried from happiness. She said we would continue treatment “as is” because it was working.
It seems now the Cancer has slowly crept back into his body… maybe it was never gone and just hiding. The Oncologist did say at the first appointment that the type of Cancer he has is very sneaky & aggressive. That’s why he had to continue treatment even though the scan showed no trace of it. She said his type of Cancer “hides” and waits to come out. Well she was right. My sons health has slowly declined over the last few months.
He’s back to the same physical shape he was in when he first got diagnosed, even worse. He’s losing weight at a rapid pace and could barely walk. It seems this sneaky Cancer has resurfaced and attached itself to his Lungs and Spleen. This time the chemotherapy is not working and they recently started him on Immunotherapy. He’s become depressed and is starting to push all family members away. This is the most fear I’ve ever felt as a mother. I can’t make this better! This is the one thing I can’t fix! It’s getting harder & harder to put on my “game face” but I still do.
He now has a mini portable Oxygen tank cause he’s having trouble breathing. How do you lift someone’s spirits when everything seems to be falling apart all at once? I continue to keep calm in my heart because if I fall apart now I’m not helping anyone. I have been praying daily for God to give me strength so I can help see him through this terrifying journey.
As a mom, my kids have always come to me for solutions. I always “fixed” everything or made it better. My heart is shattered because this is the one time that I feel like I’ve failed him.
How do you deal with grief? Everyone deals with grief differently. It all depends on the individual, the situation, the culture, so on and so forth. There is no one right way. I say whatever helps get you through it is the right way. But everyone has to find their own way there.
I remember when my son was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Stomach Cancer. I was devastated, I cried (daily) for weeks. Months later, after I accepted the reality of his diagnosis, I became emotionally numb. I no longer had a reaction to anything, good or bad, the doctors told me. Of course, in front of my son & my other kids I would put on my game face and crack jokes with them but inside my heart was crushed to pieces & still is.
Now here we are (a year later) after several hospital admissions, half a dozen Pet-Scans, good news, bad news & everything in between; I am stronger emotionally than I was a year ago. I’ve learned what helps keep me sane is staying busy. I occupy my time a lot by doing different small activities. But what really helps me emotionally is my daily Yoga practice. That keeps my mind occupied and keeps me motivated and that seems to be the general consensus in my household. My son keeps himself occupied daily by chatting with his 2.5 million viewers on his gaming site. My oldest daughter keeps busy by working overtime & most recently picked up a 2nd job and my youngest daughter is quite busy with her multiple dance classes 6 days a week. My husband always has a new project fixing something around the house. That’s what works for us.
On occasion, we’ve discussed my sons diagnosis as a family and I keep the conversation truthful but positive. I remind them that we have to remain strong for him & for each other. I believe he feeds off of our energy & if we show positivity that’s what will help him deal with his illness. I know it doesn’t change his diagnosis but it doesn’t help him if we all sit around the house crying. So I choose to be a strong role model and continue to be pro-active. Every day that I wake up I do my best to keep a smile on my face despite what we have going on in our life.
So the moral of this story is, don’t be so quick to judge anyone regardless whether they have a smile or a frown on their face. You never know what kind of a private battle they are fighting.
How do you handle stress? I usually work well under pressure but today I crumbled cause everything hit me all at once and I got flustered. I eventually took care of everything but once I was alone I broke down & cried cause I let the pressure get to me. I’m human, it happens.
Stress is not what happens to you it’s your response to what is happening. So what do we do about that? What if we’re carrying too much weight on our shoulders and half of it isn’t ours to carry? You have to re-examine the stressors in your life. There are some things that are out of our control like a loved one being sick, traffic, rude people, lines at stores… you get the picture. You have no control over other people’s actions or situations.
How about things that are a little more in your control like bills? You see, I’m a believer in lists. I say re-evaluate your spending. If you’re on a tight budget then you should have 2 lists: Needs and Wants period! Relationships? If the bad list outweighs the good then you know what you have to do. I know, easier said than done but no one ever said making the right decision was easy. If it was that easy then no one would have struggles in life. The point I’m trying to get at is that only YOU have control over your own actions.
Sometimes we put more weight on our shoulders than necessary. After a stressful day, it’s important to re-evaluate what it was that caused the stress and CHOOSE an internal calm. It’s all about how you handle a situation. Taking a quiet moment each day to self-reflect is important for yourself. It doesn’t make a stressful situation better but will help you respond differently next time & sometimes that makes all the difference.
Do you think before you speak or do you just let it all come out in the heat of the moment?
I often think before I speak but I wasn’t always like that. With age comes wisdom & in my wise years I’ve learned that you don’t have to put it all out there. Don’t get me wrong, I get angry & there are things I want to say (especially when I hear things I don’t agree with) but I know that’s just emotion that wants to come out so I often bite my tongue & walk away from situations and give myself time to reflect so I can come back later with the right words.
Sometimes you want so badly for the other person to understand your point of view but arguing or insults will only make it worse. So I’ve learned to just listen or respectfully agree to disagree and leave it at that. Sometimes if you have a strong opinion about something & the other person does too maybe a truce would be in order to keep the peace. Why argue and let it escalate into something ugly? All for what? To prove what point? Who said either one of you are completely right? Maybe you both have good points but too stubborn to realize it.
Keep an open mind, hear the other side, agree to disagree and move on to something else. That’s how you keep the peace. Remember, once you cross that line and say something you regret later, it may be forgiven but it can never be unheard.
Self-Reflection is a humbling process. Why do you do the things you do & say the things you say? We know what façade we put forth to the public but only we know what’s really going on inside. When you do a soul searching what do you find? Do you like what you see? What are you gonna do about it?
You have to start by finding out what makes you tick. What made you who you are? Whether it be good, bad or indifferent, something in life shaped you. Now what is it that you’d like to see different? It’s never too late to change. I think everyone is capable of change. Change is definitely a lot of work but if you’re willing and determined it can happen. Change doesn’t necessarily mean what you’re changing from was bad, change can just mean exactly that…..it’s time for a change.
I know I’ve changed a lot in the last 4 years. I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and I’m definitely not the same person. My life used to be filled with turmoil & anger and I knew something had to change and quick. I wanted to change for myself. I was craving peace & happiness for my soul and I slowly took steps to change things. I let go of a lot of people in my life that served me no purpose except cause me grief. Then I noticed that things that used to make me angry didn’t anymore. I didn’t have as much anxiety & I was more easy going. I now lead a much more simple life. Some may find it boring but I feel I’m where I need to be in life right at this moment & I’m completely satisfied and happy.
The trick to life, I discovered, is to be able to walk away from anything or anyone that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you can’t be happy with yourself first you surely can’t make those around you happy 🙂
There is no such thing as “a perfect moment” or even “perfection” for that matter. That perfect defining moment will be different to each person.
What makes your heart sing? Is it a brief moment of silence? Is it going to the gym for hours? Is it binge watching all your favorite T.V shows or is it eating 1/2 gallon of your favorite ice-cream for breakfast? All of that qualifies as a perfect moment to someone out there in the world. A perfect moment doesn’t have to be something fancy or exotic. Don’t let anyone define what YOUR perfect moment should be, make it your own. Whatever makes your heart smile should define your perfect moment.
My perfect moment is when I know no one is sick at home and I can escape to the mountains I love to hike or to the park to do Yoga & be at peace within myself to enjoy nature because at that very moment everything is okay in my world.