Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Remembering to Swim

I have reached the 6 month mark since my last chemotherapy treatment. This was the magic point where I was supposed to be all healed and ready to return to work and life would be back to normal. A year ago on April 17, 2014 when I first sat in Dr Steven's office and he told me to look at my treatment plan as a maternity leave and that I would be off work for at least a year, I remember thinking.... "yeah right, I would be back after Christmas or after March Break at the latest."

Fast forward now to April 2015, while I continue to remain in remission, and physically the effects of my treatment have begun to fade, I have been shocked at the mental and emotional struggle that has come along with being a survivor. Worrying and anxiety can be exhausting and while my inner mind tells me that many of the physical symptoms I believe I am feeling are "all in my head", the mind is a powerful force. There have definitely been days where I have taken on too many tasks and have been fatigued and tired by the time my family has returned home from work and school, it is more the emotional toll that having cancer that has weighted me down. I have taken steps to meet this challenge; attending yoga classes at both Hopespring Cancer Centre and Moksha Hot Yoga as well as seeking a referral for therapy to help me better deal with how my mind can take over and cause me to worry. I realize there is no perfect solution and that it is very normal for patients to have difficulties with anxiety, worry and physical symptoms of this. But it is clear to me that I need some assistance with this. I need some help steering this ship.

At my last appointment with Dr Stevens, he wholeheartedly encouraged me to remain off work until September and use the next few months to build my strength physically and emotionally. To stop trying to tread water so quickly and remember what it's like to swim. I thank my medical team for validating this need and taking this very tough decision off my plate. And so I look forward to the opportunity to "love to swim" and enjoy life as a mother and wife, have the time to be a great friend, cheerleader and support system to so many who stepped up for me.

My next appointment with my oncologist is at the end of May. Between now and then, I am looking to check into my thyroid functioning (as I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism), pursuing an allergy referral as there have been some reactions that need to be checked out. Staying on top of advocating for my medical concerns is important and will hopefully also help with the anxiety of feeling like "something is wrong".

I enjoyed a wonderful get-away with Jason to Punta Cana for our own celebration of my cancer remission and an opportunity for us to re-connect as a couple rather than care-giver and patient as it has been for really the last two years. Our family continues to check off our "bucket list items" of what we look forward to doing when Mom's cancer treatment is over. It feels like such a great accomplishment to be able to meet those goals. Love you all and I am grateful for the warmer days and sunshine that shines on us.

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