#cancersurvivor, #mentalhealth, #selfcare

Scarring

I was reading the results of a CT scan I had a few weeks ago to make sure my PE from September had cleared. It mentioned that there was scarring on the outer lobe of my left lung (or something like that). This makes sense because that is the side that went through radiation, basically where the large tumor was located. It got me thinking about all of the other scars that I have amassed throughout my life. On a deeper level it really got me thinking about the scars that aren’t visable.

Emotionally, I’m left with the scars of having my old life removed with the words you have cancer. I finally had found a job within my new career field, I thought maybe I would finally be able to move out on my own again. Then September 15, 2016 cancer went ahead and pissed in the punch. Suddenly, I worried about dying, what the future held and if I would be okay. And the truth is I’m still dealing with the emotional scars of losing the hopes and dreams before I had cancer because some of them now just seem impossible. I wonder if I’ll ever have a career or if it will always be more of a job because of all the ground that I feel like I’ve lost because of dealing with cancer. I wonder if I’ll ever have my own house and be on my own again because cancer and life after cancer is expensive.

Then there are mental scars. My mental scars are based in emotion but they feel different than emotional scars. Every time I have to get some sort of imaging or ultrasound done I have that anxiety that something is going to be found. The scanxiety used to be highly emotional but now it is more of an association that the imaging orders create this fear, it’s not something felt deep inside it is just the mental response to getting that piece of paper that says orders. (I think there’s some sort of technical term for this but my psychology class was at 8am and I don’t remember anything.)

The physical, emotional, and mental scarring that comes with cancer is such a mind fuck (I can’t think of a term). I’m glad that no one told me about this in the beginning. I’m also really thankful to mental health professionals that are helping to sort through all of these scars.

#cancersurvivor, #mentalhealth, #selfcare, Random Rambles

2021 Begins

Little life update a couple of weeks into 2021. On the fifth day of the month I got let go from my job. After the dumpster fire of 2020 this probably should have sent me into some sort of downward shame spiral. The truth is that I’ve been relieved since it happened. I’m excited to move past a situation that made me cry pretty much everyday and made me feel isolated and completely worthless. I’m excited to make a clean start with work and with the new year.

Interview outfit. Back on the job hunt!

I’ve started running again but I’m not sure how I feel about running in the cold.  It feels good to just move my body, empty my mind and honestly just concentrate on how much I want the running to be over 🙂 Overall, exercise has been harder because the gym closed but it always feels good to partake in some sort of physical activity.

I have started changing a lot of other routines in an effort to make 2021 better.  I revamped my entire skincare routine.  I’ve also started eating a more plant based diet.  Honestly, it means that I’m just eating more salads.  

Most important, I’m trying to say yes more this year.  I realized towards the end of the last year all too often my first instinct is to say no do things.  So this year I’m going to say yes.  I’m going to say yes if I’m invited to go up north for the weekend.  I’m going to say yes to going to parties.  I’m going to say yes to trying foods that I don’t like.  I just want to say yes so I don’t feel as if I’m missing out on anything.

That’s my life update so far into 2021.  Everyday it’s making progress towards the steps of a fresh start in 2021.

#cancersurvivor, #mentalhealth, #selfcare, #pten, Random Rambles

Dear 2020,

This was supposed to be my year, where things could really start moving in a favorable direction.  But you proved to be a formidable opponent, one really insistent on raining on my parade and that of everyone else.

Weekend hospital stay for a blood clot. One of moments where 2020 proved to be 2020.

You’ve made me question my self worth more times than I’ve ever done before.  I’ve learned to say I’m lonely because of you and that is never easy to say.  I’ve learned to say that I need help because you brought me to the precipice of losing all hope.  Because of you I’ve learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Shrine of the Little Flower church, some how always there when I feel my life is falling apart. In 2020 it was there when I lost my job for the second time in 2020.

But your lessons haven’t all been bad.  I learned that stuff I liked to do as a little kid is still fun as an adult.  I learned that my family is always there and always loves me.  Travel is fun and something I am destined to do more of.  Perhaps most importantly, I’m learning to believe in the idea that things take time but eventually I’ll get to where I’m supposed to be.

Throughout all of this I’ve done my best to keep smiling. I don’t always but I try.

So 2020 I’m glad to see you go and I can only hope the new year gets better because after you there’s really no direction to go but up.

Regards,

Amanda Greenwood

#mentalhealth, #selfcare, Random Rambles

Self Care

Self care has become one of those phrases that everyone uses. Usually, it seems like self care is all about doing a face mask or taking a yoga class. For me once a week my self care is to go to therapy for an hour.

It was about this time last year I noticed that mentally, I was struggling with a lot of things. There were some days at work where I just couldn’t make it through the day without crying, without feeling unappreciated, or just being plan angry at the situation. Add in to a frustrating career situation the lingering effects of cancer and reconstruction surgery and I was just discouraged and heading towards hopeless with everything.

I worked for many months with the social worker at the cancer center and eventually worked some way through my issues with cancer but the rest of my life still had stuff that was unresolved. She gave the name of psychiatrist in May and I was booked for an appointment in September. Thankfully, I moved up the waiting list and went to an appointment in June where we upped the dose of my anti-depressant that I was already on for hot flashes to a therapeutic dose to try and help my quickly growing depressive state. The medications helped but I still needed more, something more frequent than the cancer center social worker could offer.

So every week since August or so I’ve gone to talk therapy to work through a bunch of issues that had been bothering me or are bothering me, its helped tremendously. It is the one form of consistent self care that I have. I’ve worked at finding the deeper meanings of my anger towards such things like my work situation. I’ve learned not to worry about feeling so far behind in life because I don’t have things like a house or a good paying job or that life sometimes seemingly continues to deal me a bad hand. That with a little hope, faith, and a lot of action things will eventually begin to go my way.

Therapy helps me see the forest through the trees, that a lot of what was overwhelming and at sometimes feeling like it was crushing me is nothing that I can’t work through. It makes me realize that I need to take care of myself, to see the things in my life that I have and those that I want.