I've recently started trying to make sense of the last year.
The short story is on July 27 of 2013 I found a lump in my left breast and didn't handle it well.
Even when the results of various imaging work came back benign not once, but twice.
At one point, a friend who is a cancer survivor on Facebook posted an article that talked about how once remission status was reached, a person didn't necessarily feel totally relieved, or go back to their normal self.
I really identified with the article, not because I had cancer and survived it, but because when the benign results came back, I didn't feel relieved. I kept thinking 'but it still could happen'. I also haven't gone back to my pre-lump self- as I mentioned in my last post, I'm struggling with who as was versus who I am now.
I realized two or three months ago that I'm doing a really good job at fixing the physical aspects that were at the root cause of my health issues- mainly hormone imbalance that has probably been going on since late high school or early college.
I also realized that finding the lump for me was an emotional shock, one that I had not realized was present until a few months ago, and one that I was not doing a good job at addressing.
I think the awareness that the shock was present was key- the fact that I recognized it helped lessen the shock a little bit.
One of the treatments I sought out that helped the most with the emotional shock was going to a very gifted lymph massage therapist that also does advanced energy healing (CJ at LymphWorks in Fort Collins, CO), which was in early July 2014.
Since then, I feel like the shock is primarily in the background, instead of at the for front of every day. I've also been able to look at the experiences of the last year more objectively.
During on of my more objective looks, I realized something else- finding the lump and the resulting treatments to address the hormone balance were fairly unexpected. I thought that I was doing a pretty good job at living a healthy life, I don't smoke anything, don't drink much, don't participate in risky behaviors, and yet .... I had some health issues.
At the time I didn't realize how bad my stress and anxiety were in the years leading up to the health issues, and how much stress and anxiety can adversely affect ones health. Had I truly known that, I probably wouldn't have been surprised.
But I didn't know, and the lump seemed to come out of the blue, and I think that's one of the reasons I just didn't handle most things well after July of 2013.
I often wonder now how other people I know would have reacted in the same situation. Would they have been more calm? More open (I didn't tell anyone for several months, and even then kept it relatively quiet)? Not been bothered much?
There was a period of about 2 months last December and January where I basically became a hermit. All of the dietary and lifestyle changes that I needed to make were overwhelming, so I stopped going out, stopped talking to friends and family, and just learned how to take care of myself. I had disabled my Facebook account a month or so earlier, so I really had no idea what was going on with every one else. I thought, if I can barely handle whats happening in my own life, I certainly don't want the added stress of knowing what's going on in other peoples lives.
The nice thing about being a hermit for a few months is that I really learned what it meant to take care of myself. While I still struggle to balance self care and the rest of my life, I've gotten much better at it. I've also gotten much better at saying no to things that will make maintaining that balance more difficult.
It's been just over a year since I found the lump. I'm hoping that this year I can put all the worries and shock related to finding the lump aside, and just focus on my new lifestyle and diet as something that I want to do to live a healthy life, instead of something I have to do out of fear.
The recent (and future blogging) is one of my attempts to make sense of things....maybe if these thoughts aren't rattling around in my head, maybe if they're written down somewhere, I'll stop needing to think them.