Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming Back to Life

They say that hindsight is 20/20. I’m not so sure about the 20/20 part, but it is clearer than recognizing where you are in the moment. I say this because I have just realized in the last week how sick I have truly been over the last few months. This is not really news to anyone but me. But, that’s me. I can’t remember recognizing any challenge in my life for what it was in the moment. It’s only after the fact that the realization hits home. I probably couldn’t have made it through as well as I did if I realized what I was up against. I have made it through some incredibly powerful poison.

Everyone knows chemo takes a toll on you. You just don’t realize how much until you go through it. I spoke with my breast surgeon’s nurse practitioner yesterday to schedule my follow-up. She asked how I was, and I told her how difficult it had been. She said something kind of profound. She said, “When you go through what you’ve been through, you have to decide what you’re going to show up for. And, it can’t be everything.” I wish someone had said exactly those words to me in the beginning. (Of course knowing me, it probably wouldn’t have helped.) But, that was it. It captured exactly what I had not been able to put into words. I HAD to show up for work with very few exceptions during this time, and when that was done my tank was empty. There was nothing left for life or even Brayden on most days. I am so blessed to have such a strong and independent little man in the making. Oh, and there’s the Wii…Thank you, God for the Wii! It did wonders to entertain when I could not.

So, I counted and it’s actually been 7 months since my surgery as of next week. Wow! I guess I can honestly say that I have completed the most difficult 7 months of my life to date. I’d like to say they will be the most difficult that I will face in this lifetime, but I don’t make statements like that anymore.

I am marking the end of that time not because I am all better, but because I have decided that it’s finally time to begin coming back to life. I still can’t do most of the things that I used to. I went to our church’s leadership conference 3 evenings this past week. Just being able to walk from the car to the building at the expansive main campus after a full day of work is an incredible feat that involved a bunch of prayer. But, I did it! I spent all day Saturday recovering from it. (It was worth it, even if I did have to watch curling all afternoon.) What an amazing few evenings!

But, my greatest physical accomplishment since the end of chemo was Sunday after church. For the very first time since November I went grocery shopping for my very own groceries. Before now, I have been unable to do it because I couldn’t walk far enough to even make it to the milk, much less all around the store for the things I needed. Fortunately, Bird has been volunteering to do it for me. (That’s a great testimony for staying friends with your ex-husband…) So, we haven’t starved or anything.

It was probably the single best grocery shopping experience of my life. I say that because I have always detested grocery shopping. I love having a house full of groceries, but hate the shopping to get them part. It’s amazing what appreciation you can have for something you detest once you can no longer do it for yourself.

When I got to the store, I had not completely committed to a full grocery trip. When I made it to the milk without thinking about it, I decided to push through and cover the entire store. End to end I went and covered my entire mental list. When I got back to the car, buckled Brayden in, and pulled away I couldn’t believe what I had just done. It was then that I decided the time had come to rejoin the land of the living.

Today I actually chose to take the stairs at work for two different trips to other floors, down and up. I wouldn’t have even considered doing that a week ago. It was difficult. The second trip was more than I probably should have tried, but I did it. So, I am looking for that little opportunity each day to push myself a little further. One more step into recovery, into life.

Coming back to life feels good, physically and mentally. I am reminded daily to “give thanks in all things”, even if those things are the mundane ones like stocking up on groceries. So, I am attacking life again with the spirit of thanksgiving despite less than perfect circumstances. Because in the end, I have much more to give thanks for than to complain about.



©2009 80% Sporadic | by TNB