Every day is a new beginning

Every day is a new beginning

Every day is a new beginning. Take a deep breath and start again.

For every day really is an opportunity to start over and we are truly blessed to have another day to try again, no matter what situation we wake up and find ourselves in. 

I am so grateful for the wonderful words and well-wishes that many of our readers and friends shared after reading my post "Feeling the fear ... but I really DON"T want to do it anyway"; I know that it touched a chord in many hearts.

Last week was, to be quite frank, an absolute bitch of a week - full of mixed blessings. 

I am delighted to share that our 'patient' is dealing with chemotherapy fairly well, despite a bumpy start to the treatment in a chaotic hospital. As I often hear discussed in committee meetings, communication is always the let-down in Oncology units. 

Monday and Wednesday were busy days: as Supporters, Patients and Carers know, you learn to sit patiently for hours, waiting to be seen by whomever.

Tuesday - "chemo day" - was fraught; I stayed at home and cried pretty much the whole day, inbetween moments of rage that would have surely turned the tides back at Eastbourne beach (where I grew up), as effortlessly as King Canute. My safety valve was a wonderful friend who let me cry and rage over the phone (thank you - you know who you are).

Thursday and Friday were spent in limbo: working on birthing CreaTEAvity's free online course, 21 Days of Laughter Challenge, with half-an-ear listening out for the phone just-in-case. And so it went on ...

I am learning fast. 

The role of a Supporter is SO tricky - even moreso when it's so close to home. 

As a Cancer Patient, you quickly learn to adapt to the Oncology routine. My treatment plan had included surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, alongside a range of complementary therapies, treatments and a radical diet change, supported by a specialist nutritionist from The Haven. With a chemotherapy prescription of 6 sessions of FEC-T, I prepared to hunker down for a few months and feel rough for a few days each cycle. I swiftly learned to live in the moment, quite literally moment by moment, as my body did not play well with the chemo-cocktails.  Most of my 14 weeks on chemotherapy (I refused more chemotherapy after Cycle 4) were spent laying on the sofa in our front room, watching the leaves and light create a magical light show, listening to the ticking clock.

Our 'patient' is not quite there yet. They still insist on wanting to live a normal life. A normal-for-them life. Slowly, but surely, as the steroids wear off, they are realising that they cannot fight the natural urge to sleep, which is our body's best way to heal.  Nerves are tattered; for the patient has two Supporters who know just how hard chemotherapy can hit. We have to battle our own fears and desire to protect the 'patient', while also allowing them space to learn - safely! before they keel over in a faint! - to learn a 'new normal'. To learn to listen to their body.

As a Patient, it's all about you. Believe it or not, as the Patient, what you say goes. YES! You can speak up about your care with your medical treatment. They may be the experts in treatment but YOU are the expert in YOU.

As a Supporter, you have to be flexible and strong. Your starring role is to be an emotional support for the Patient, empowering them to make choices for their own care. But at the same time, it is so important that you take care of yourself. 

Things I am learning, as an ex-Patient and as a Supporter:
  • Be pro-active - you can't always plan for every eventuality, but you can make a plethora of lists!
  • Try to spread the load - wherever possible, try to share the responsibilities for attending appointments, emotional support, caring, shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. with others. Draw up a schedule (and share those lists)
  • Know yourself - and know your own limitations. Make sure your boundaries are strong. This is critical if you are to be of any use to anyone
  • Be a problem-solver - if there's an issue, reach out to your connections and get advice and support. Remember - knowledge is power
  • Get the professionals involved - there are many volunteer and professional organisations out there offering help and support in a multitude of ways. As a Supporter, do take a bit of time to research and seek out what may be useful to your Patient
  • Be positive - as much as you can do; but also be Real. Release any tears, frustrations, anger, sadness in a safe way ... they really are far better out, than in
  • Look after yourself - whichever way you can. Whether this means a half-hour break in a coffee-shop reading a book, or taking a weekend off to destress while someone else takes over the Supporter role ... every little bit matters. For me, I'm practically bathing in citrus essential oils, such as Lemon, Bergamot and Lime to keep my spirits lifted, while I face my personal chemotherapy-demons head-on. I am also indulging in creative activities - Laughter Yoga, painting furniture, doodling in my art journal ...

But one thing I've realised that Patients and Supporters have in common is that we lack control. Rather, FEELING as if we have no control. We do - but that feeling is very common, and a natural emotion. We control how we react to that feeling of no-control ... so spin that feeling on its head, and TAKE control.

Feeling this way is OK. Feeling anything is good! Because every day is a new beginning. And every day is best lived in the present moment. Quite literally, moment by moment.

Hyde Park, London - 3rd May 2015 - Callie Carling

Note: Our little bit of spiritual nirvana this weekend was visiting Hyde Park, London on Monday 4th May to celebrate Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana's birth - a gun salute by the Kings Troop was held in her honour. 

This beautiful waterfall, a space of tranquillity in a bustling city, is a poor substitute for our holiday in North Cornwall which we've had to cancel - but it was a delight to watch for a few minutes, kissing our eyes with nature's grace.

Cancer Goddess
Cancer Goddess writes about whole-self wellness, creativity and beauty for women whose lives have been touched, in some way, by Cancer. You are warmly invited to 
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  1. What an inspiring post? Thanks for sharing. I send my positive thoughts to you and your loved ones at this time.

  2. Why is it I often get shivers reading your posts? Whoever the patient is, I feel sure they have the best people around them right now, one of those people being the one who wrote this beautiful post. x

    1. ((( hugs ))) thank you so much Susie ... I hope they are good shivers, btw :) xx