In last week’s post, I alluded to the conundrum of breast cancer being the prevailing context of my life. No one wants a malady to be the lens through which they filter daily events, but what if it so happens that this thing I have been trying desperately to muscle out of the limelight is indeed the very thing that makes the most sense to be there?
Breast cancer is everywhere, even television and movies dabble in it (granted, I only watch comedies.) Parenthood inflicted a cast member with it, as did Jane the Virgin. Heck, even Glitch, which is about a bunch of people who come back from the dead, has one come back who had succumbed to breast cancer. (A shout out to Big Bang Theory for not doing a cancer bit and opting to give Howard a vasectomy instead.) Is any of it relevant? I don’t know. My experience didn’t look like any of the ones I see on TV or in movies. Maybe I just got lucky. It concerns me that someone diagnosed with any form of cancer will think that what they see on TV or in a movie will be the blueprint for their experience. Every experience is unique, so going into it with an open mind and a large reserve of positivity I think would be the best jumping-off point.
I do find myself combing back through my year in treatment to try and recall my tricks for staying upbeat. Life is pretty darn grand when surfed on a wave of happy-go-lucky positivity. Let’s face it, being happy just feels good. Really good. Add to it the rush of hormonal happy juice that flows when you are happy and I really wonder why I let it slip away, even for one day. Yet I did, and I hazard a guess that we all do, because try as we might things get in the way, irritating, frustrating, stressful things that punch holes in our happy thoughts faster than a family of moles does a golf course.
I used to be really good at turning sour situations into glasses of lemonade. I can still do it, but now it is often preceded by days of stewing and frowns. I think where I went awry is that I don’t take the time to relax and recharge like I used to. Sometimes it’s just a question of shifting gears, doing something different, switching my thoughts to something new so the angst-inducing thoughts that are bogging me down are pushed aside for a moment. What really helps is to give someone else your full attention. I imagine that is something most of us don’t do often enough. Forget about what’s on your mind and focus entirely on what’s going on with them. Pets are great for that.
Today I spent several hours on the hammock with my cat, taking time to focus on her and stroke her back and belly. She purred; I nodded in agreement. I also spent a good bit of time soaking in the pool talking with my husband, about positivity, oddly enough. It seems we have both found ourselves on the same path at the same time. Kismet strikes again.