As I read through that old post, I remember the feeling all over again, and wish I could always hold that same reverence and appreciation for my health. Painful experiences are soon forgotten, because we’re human, they’re a downer, and we want to get on with life. The part of my painful experience of cancer [...]
As I read through that old post, I remember the feeling all over again, and wish I could always hold that same reverence and appreciation for my health.
Painful experiences are soon forgotten, because we’re human, they’re a downer, and we want to get on with life. The part of my painful experience of cancer treatment that I want to keep is tenderness toward my body, and appreciation of my health every day.
I had great intentions of never taking my health for granted. At the time, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I would never fill up on sweets, burn the candle at both ends, forget to take my vitamins or skip eating my veggies. I never intended to let my children know they were in trouble by using their full names either, but that’s another story!
Guilty on all counts, alas. Life gets going, ambitions reawaken, perhaps with a greater sense of urgency than they did before, and I forget how good my body has been to me. My body rode the wild wave of chemotherapy without interruption. My body has bounced back amazingly well. I think of this and feel guilty for forgetting to do all the things I couldn’t wait to do.
I have learned over the course of my tumultuous life that guilt is never a good motivator. When I beat myself with the big shame stick, I only do more of that which I feel guilty about, because shame makes me weak, not strong. What works better for me is appreciation.
As I read through those words I wrote three and a half years ago, the feelings all come flooding back. The amazement of feeling ok after chemo, the exhilaration of anticipating owning my own body again, the sense of accomplishment that I had made it halfway through and was on the downhill slope. I remember those two months of watching my breast return slowly, the red hardness receding with each infusion, feeling deep in my bones that I was going to win. The next four infusions were harder, but I knew that soon I would cross the finish line and begin the next stage of my 2007 Ironwoman triathlon. It was painful to get my breast back and then have to let it go. I appreciate the one I still have all the more.
I can get wildly off track and really neglect myself at times. Then I come to my senses, take the time to feel wonder, sensation, the sensitivity in my fingers and hands that Taxol stole from me for awhile.
So, the challenge and the reward is to still appreciate what I have while I am busy being and doing. I don’t want the slow times I had during and after cancer. Those times of space and reflection were perfect for me then, and the time for that is over. Now it is time to learn how to move towards what matters, doing what makes me happy, but still appreciating the gift of all the things my body is able to do today, tomorrow, the next day.
I still haven’t figured out exactly how to do that. It’s inconsistent at the moment, still learning how to balance reflection with doing. Maybe I need to put up signs.
“Elizabeth, have you thanked your body today? Are you being as good to your body as she deserves? If not, take this moment, right now, to do something nice for your amazing, healthy body!”
I am so grateful for my healthy body, and grateful that I still can cruise in the fast lane when it really matters.
As I am settling into the blogsphere, I am being initiated into unfamiliar territory, the slimy underbelly of comment spam. These spammers are so crafty! They have their canned complimentary comments that they inundate me with, hoping that I will post their comments along with links to their sites. The clue I get that they [...]
As I am settling into the blogsphere, I am being initiated into unfamiliar territory, the slimy underbelly of comment spam.
These spammers are so crafty! They have their canned complimentary comments that they inundate me with, hoping that I will post their comments along with links to their sites. The clue I get that they are spam are the following:
They are highly complimentary without being specific at all. “I could not have found the information you have provided anywhere else” or “I really love your blog and am now suscribed, keep up the good work!” Ah, the proud blogger is pleased until noticing that these exact comments are coming in from multiple sites.
They indicate a problem which it is imperative that I solve, by publishing their comment. “Your feed does not seem to be working, is it your site or my computer?” Answer: I have subscribed to my own feed on all three browsers and I know they work, thanks so much!
Another approach is to try to get me riled up. “Can I place some of your post on my website if I link back to your site?” No, duh, it’s copyrighted.
Or, my favorite: “I have submitted several comments which have not appeared here, is there something wrong with your spam filters?” Dude, I am the spam filter!
Why is this relevant you may ask? Well, actually, pondering why I am so annoyed made me think of how spam gets into my life, and why I hate it.
Spam can be annoying communications that require a response, which are a waste of precious time that is better used for other things. Do you have any of this in your life? I do, although a lot less than I used to. Spammers use any method they can think up to get your attention, so you’ll buy something, do something for them, or provide a way for them to get what they want. Do know any people like that?
What this reminds me of is the importance of valuing my time and energy, whether anybody else does or not. Of course the irony of this is that the more I value my time and energy, the more others will value it. The spam filters work better as they identify what is spam.
My personal spam filters:
Guilt and shame indentifiers. If guilt and shame are present in the communication, I’m not playing.
Resisting snap decisions. When someone wants me to do something and they want it right now, I insist on taking time before deciding, and I tune into whether I really want to do what I am being asked to do, and why.
Willpower! Just because I would like to spend hours noodling around on the internet doesn’t mean it is the best use of my time.
Supportive people in my life. These people remind me what healthy, mutually respectful relationships feel like. I gauge other interactions by this positive experience.
Caring for Me time. The more rested, balanced and centered I am, the better the decisions I make about anything in my life. I make time for real sustenance, not spam.
Real food is good for you, spam will make you fat and lethargic!
Real food is friends, creativity, meaningful work, walks on the beach, children (insert your real food here). A steady diet of real food, with minimal spam, keeps me strong, healthy, and loving life.
Just say no to spam!
That is the question… Is it more important to stay on the straight and narrow with diet, exercise, good health habits etc. or do you get to goof off because that is good for your soul? I think that a balance between the two is essential. All work and no play makes Elizabeth a dull [...]
That is the question…
Is it more important to stay on the straight and narrow with diet, exercise, good health habits etc. or do you get to goof off because that is good for your soul?
I think that a balance between the two is essential. All work and no play makes Elizabeth a dull girl. When the three tween girls who have been negotiating their spoil bring me some, I am delighted. Reese’s peanut butter cups, yum!
Sometimes people ask me, “did your cancer diagnosis make you change your diet?” Of course the implication was that it was probably rotten before. Actually, it wasn’t. One of the toughest parts of living another woman’s nightmare is that she wants to make sure it will not happen to her, so she has to figure out what I did wrong so she can reassure herself that she is safe. That’s a whole different topic for another day!
Back to straight and narrow…
How is it that some folks do everything right, eat very well, exercise, practice yoga, meditate, don’t eat red meat, drink moderately if at all and still get cancer? Others do all the wrong things and live to be 90. Go figure!
Yesterday I saw a video of the oldest concentration camp survivor, named Alice. She’s a pianist. She is 107 years old. She survived because she was a famous concert pianist, and the prisoners who could make music had something to offer their captors. What struck me most about her was that she is happy. She plays the piano every day, still.
How much health value does happiness provide? How do you break down food made with love into bad or good?
Obviously I don’t go crazy on red meat or skimp on vegetables. I walk most days. I tend to my health. The most important thing about that is the message I send to my soul. I strengthen the connection between body, mind and spirit by being committed to caring for me. This is self care from love, not fear.
If I am terrified of an occasional hamburger, or if I am awake nights because I ate a peanut butter cup, then my self care is motivated by fear. Fear is hard on the body and weakens it. Love strengthens it.
When I was very sick, one of the nurses I worked with organized a food delivery sign-up so that I would not have to prepare food for my family. I never worried about whether that food was vegetarian, how much fat was in it, or anything else. I was so grateful to other people for showing they cared in this way. We ate it all, with gratitude. Gratitude is the best nutrition there is.
This Halloween eve, as I sat in the kitchen drinking tea with my friend, I got such a kick out of those girls negotiating for their favorite candy. When all three of them came and plopped a bunch of peanut butter cups in front of me I was delighted, not so much about the candy, but by the spirit in which it was given.
So, I continue to be committed to my health, my happiness, my art, my dear husband and children, and to bold, outrageous naughtiness whenever I get those special opportunities.
Here’s to your naughtiness this Halloween!
About The LIberation of Persephone/ElizabethElizabeth Danu started this blog to provide a postive and useful resource for people facing cancer and thier loved ones. She is now a ten year survivor of Stage IIIC Inflammatory Breast cancer, enjoying her post-cancer life as a mom, blogger, speaker, wellness consultant and unquenchable optimist. She also sings and performs regularly with her a capella quartet, Curious Blend.
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This blog is a labor of love, and it has to fit into the nooks and crannies of my crazy, busy, wonderful life.
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Thanks so much!
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DO NOT DUPLICATEAll text and art found on these pages belong to Elizabeth Danu, Copyright 2008 - 2014 unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any material on this site is strictly prohibited. For permission to use anything presented here, please contact me directly. Elizabeth Danu
Disclosure:My intention with this website is to provide an oasis of hope for those facing a fierce diagnosis. Any proceeds from this site go towards building this resource and for breast cancer research, particularly directed towards Deadline 2020 for the end of breast cancer. Blessings, Elizabeth
My bedside companion in 2007
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