In January I was laying in a rolling green field. The slight breeze moved my hair across my brow. I was enjoying the warmth of the sun as it licked my skin and was listening to the birds. I marvelled at the peace and beauty around me. I was blissfully unaware of what laid ahead. I was right where I wanted to be in my life. I had exciting plans. Life was great!
Then, out of nowhere, a big red balloon drifted into my view and crash landed in my field. Incredibly, the greatest people came running from all directions to help. For months, they held on with me for dear life.
Then came the moment where they had to let go.
Now I am left dangling from my red balloon, floating away with it, being moved wherever the breeze decides to blow. A bit like this…
Luckily, I live with an amazing family and have lots of great friends and an exceptional psychologist. Although this psychologist doesn’t have coffee and biscotti waiting when I visit as I once hoped for. This is just as well, because since last weeks chemo I feel like I drank a pilcher of broken glass. My love affair with good coffee and cafe baked-goods is over. Well, most foods and even now water actually.
Instead, when I visit my psychologist, there is this incredible blue velour chair from the 1970’s that I get to rest in. And for those moments and for days after I leave, holding onto the red balloon is not so bad. I am reminded that people can’t hold on for me. I need to ride it myself.
These visits are allowing me to float with that red balloon. It is true, I am gripping tight to the rope, but I am not fighting it. I am going where the balloon takes me. Travelling though all of the emotion, the grief, the anger, the loss of control, and the rapid change that is currently occurring in my life though this experience of cancer. I am letting the depression procession catch me. It’s okay to stop running from it now. It’s okay to move through each natural process. Being aware of when I am looking at the world through this depressive lens can help me to climb free of it. It’s just a perspective after all. Thankfully visits to the comfortable blue velour 1970’s chair are helping.
This chemo round has not been pleasant. On Saturday I spent the day in hospital. Thankfully not neutropenic, but physically and emotionally bankrupt. Four days after my fourth round of chemo (my first dose of Taxotere) and I required some antibiotics and 6 litres of IV fluid. Some serious pain meds were given to subdue the men with spears that have been stabbing my bones in surprising places; my ankles, my jaw and molars, my kneecaps. These men were silenced by my old friend Endone. And then, ten hours of sleep saw me well enough to rejoin my family at home.
In the depths and despair of the effects of chemotherapy, I am learning to cope. I am learning to acknowledge my feelings. I am learning to go easy on myself. I am learning to turn off the noise and relax. I am learning to survive in this new state of normal and learning not to have expectations. I am learning to take one day at a time and not look too far ahead. It much easier this way and in doing this I am feeling better already.
There are some difficult times ahead. This red balloon will be taking me for a ride for quite a while yet.
Everyone has a big red balloon enter into their field at some point. Some people will unfortunately experience quite a few through the passage of their life. Relationships break up, we lose people we love, houses burn down, we lose jobs, we get cancer. There are the near misses too. But we are all presented at some point with difficult circumstances that result in our own internal struggles.
These red balloons come crashing into our existence when we least expect it. But they don’t last forever.