I have been there, B.C. (before cancer) and now. Currently, after each chemotherapy treatment, around days 3 to 5, I feel that I am losing my mind as sounds, sensations and visuals become too much to take in. In addition to this, my body severely revolts from the chemo. Pain courses through my nerves & muscles, so that the slightest touch is torturous. Breathing becomes tight as the chemo is hitting my lungs. I am exhausted and drained from the lack of sleep due to chemo effects and anti-nausea medication. My digestive tract screams for relief. And then the growth on my spine (a chronic condition I have had for 10 years) along with the chemo effects, makes it challenging for me to lie down, or sit, for too long, and yet I am too tired to walk. I can’t think and articulating my thoughts and feelings is nearly impossible. I am just trying to survive.
Now here’s the upturn….
Music is a big part of my life. I play music at home, in my classroom and crank it in the car. And when I listen to it, while I am on the treadmill, I become “Super Star, Rock Star, Dancing Machine” (this is the reason why I do not work out in public, but at home!). Just like my eclectic ways of being (an artist, public school teacher, community server and former athlete), I have a varied music selection. The reason I bring this up is because I believe music has power to change your perception of the world. With that said, I have a playlist named Resiliency. It is full of songs I listen to while I drive into chemo, when the growth on my spine is acting up too much, or when I am struggling with the frustrations of treatments (or even life in general!!). Music helps set my mind, soothe my soul and motivates me to take another step.
As I mentioned, chemo is challenging and its effects are compounding as the treatments go on. After one session, in my troublesome day 3-5 time slot, I found myself laying on the bathroom floor, emotionally, mentally and physically hollowed. The world crashed hard.
But I wasn’t alone. I had Katy Perry’s “By the Grace of God” lyrics running through my head, as well as my cat, Mandu, sitting close and watching over me. In the song words like:
‘Running on empty,
So out of gas,
Thought I wasn’t enough,
Found I wasn’t so tough,
Laying on the bathroom floor…” resonated with me. And from those despairing words, the rest of the song talks about Katy picking herself up and putting one foot in front of the other. I knew if I could just get through that moment, and then the next moment, I could then find myself getting up and moving on.
So, I have had my chemo moments, you have had other flashes, or hot burning coals, that have shaken your essence. Our saving moments, even for atheists, can come ‘By The Grace of God!’ Now, hear me out: The ‘Grace of God’ can be your belief in God or a Higher Power, but it can also be Love… family… friends…. music… or whatever goodness, in this world, that keeps you going.
I encourage you to find your GOoDness that gives you a glimmer of hope. What makes you smile? What makes you feel at peace? What gets your heart racing? Then these are the things you need to focus on, even as a mantra, in those hard moments, to help you see that you are not alone. For me, on that particular instant, it was a song and a concerned cat watching over me while I laid on the bathroom floor.
So what do you think? What GOoDness has helped you work through your tough times? Please share with me. I’m interested in hearing what works for you. I would love to hear from you.
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