Saturday, May 22, 2010

Playing Mind Games with Myself

These are tough times for me.

I was full of optimism with the move to 67 hectares (almost 200 acres) of bushland in the Hunter Valley in July 2008. The right to the 'good life' had been earned. Or so I thought.

Retirement is what dreams are made of. At last! The opportunity to have a vegie patch and do some of that travelling that had always been just out of reach. Why was it that my health began spiralling downward at that time?

It took 12 months of incredible pain, and many hard earned dollars, to determine the recurrence of the breast cancer in the brachial plexus. The only treatment offered was a 'super size' dose of radiation that left me feeling downright fatigued and yet, optimistic that I would have years to undertake the many tasks that had been put on hold following the death of my beloved Jeremy Jon just days after his 24th birthday in November 2006.

What happened? Why did the cancer eat into the nerves and muscles effecting the use of my dominant right arm/hand? For reasons that I do not fully understand, driving became more of a challenge. Quite possibly, it was the fatigue that plagued me, leaving me just too tired to keep my eyes open. I became less self reliant and more dependent on Haydn to act as my driver and my carer.

My hair had always been my crowning glory. I could go to the store in my house clothes, providing my hair was freshly shampooed and dried. I was secure in the knowledge that people had, for years, commented on my handwriting. The joy of sending greeting cards fast disappeared as I struggled to learn to write with my left hand. Not only had I lost the ability to take care of myself I felt like I was losing HOPE. No longer able to touch type, the frustration of becoming a one finger typist annoyed me. Yes! There is voice activated technology and I may well end up becoming more familiar with it, but for now my motivation is simply not there.

Life can be very cruel! I feel sure many of you will testify to that.

The countryside, once a thing of beauty, now has me feeling trapped. I seem to have lost my confidence in so many areas of my life. Unable to prepare a meal, I rely on Haydn to do the food preparation. I then have to bite my tongue when he shows little respect for my request to, PLEASE..chop the vegetables the same size allowing them to cook evenly. Thankfully, my obsessive compulsive disorder is not fully blown. I have not driven for months. Indeed, my days of complete independence may well be a thing of the past.

I sit here wondering just how I am going to get used to the life of isolation at the farm. If indeed, I have to.

My days consist of medications, indeavouring to keep the pain under control. Meditation, in an effort to empty my mind of the useless, damaging chatter. Exercise, to enable me to retain some use of this somewhat useless arm, thus preventing a frozen shoulder. The extraordinary Palliative Care team always a phone call away.

On my 'better' days, I realise that I still have a story to tell; history and information about myself. All the things that my children, and grandchildren, will one day look back on. An opportunity for them to get a sense of the 'real' me.

What do I want for them to see? Definitely not a wimp. Rather, someone with incredible strength and courage. Someone that did no give up just because the going got too tough. Someone that found the strength to dig deep and to use all that friends and acquaintances bring to the table. This is the time to make the most of all the cyber world offers. When I am unable to get to friends, then I will feel secure in the knowledge that they will come to my desktop.

How could I not smile knowing that I am in the PERFECT place....


diane said...

Oh Chez, that story is so sad and I take my hat off to you with your fighting attitude. It is so good that you can post every now and then. I send you my best wishes to be in less pain each day.

Starry said...

Dear Chez,

you are still my great, inspirational friend. You are still the one I admire, respect, love, listen to, laugh with, sigh with, and sometimes be a cheeky little monkey with.

as many days and moments you wonder if you are disappearing, becoming unrecognisable to yourself, remember I can still see you.

xoxox forever your friend

Kaz said...

My dear friend Chez,you are one amazing lady and friend that indure so much and to tell your story the way you do i can feel your pain as if i was going thru it my self. Chez you know i think of you everyday and hope that this is the day that you send me a email saying Kaz i have use back in the hand and arm and pain free. Chez you are one strong lady that i respect so much and would do anything i can for you always.

Chez thanks for letting us all know how you are doing as we all care so much. Always in my prayers my friend and know our angels always walk beside us..

Love & Gentle Hugs always Gorgeous Lady..
Love ya,Kaz..xo

Breeze said...

You are still here. We all identify with so many things that we do that we associate with who we are. What if I couldn't write...would I still be me..what if I couldn't walk, talk, sing(ok can't sing now lol) etc. And the truth are eternal and none of those things. It is the wonderful spirit who shows me what strength truly is.

Take care

Debby said...

The most important thing to me from the beginning was that my children see my grace and faith no matter what. Know what? They did. Make up your mind what you want people to see, and they will see it. What I see is a person who is having a very hard time of it, but still manages to shine. Thank you for that inspiration.

Diane Rodgers said...

Hey sweet friend of mine,
I was just talking with Starry on chat and she told me you had a new post.I usually check each day but didn't this time. I think of you every day and pray for your healing and strength... to get by.
As I read your post I just had the thought of ....The plans we make for our lives are so not the way we have wanted them to be...retirement, health, loss of our children,....our plans are anything but what we wanted them to be. It is how we handle them when they change that counts.
You have shown so many of us the courage and strength it takes to keep moving forward, to not let ourselves go so deeply inward as to never be who we were meant to be. To hold on tight and make the most and the best of what we still have.
You Cheryl, in all of your love and wisdom and trials, have been a great example of how to continue to live.... even after such horrendous things happening in your life...all through your life.
I just want to say you are the bravest woman I have ever known. You keep getting back up after all of the events which have come to you in your life and keep on keeping on with such grace and dignity.
I only pray I can become more like you and I thank our God that we have met through the tragedy of the loss of our children, our sons. It was meant to be I believe.
Thank you for sharing your life with me, your love,your strength, your courage,and your book... which will get finished! Your children and grandchildren will know their Mum and Grandmother...the person God made and intended her to be. Their lives will all be the richer for knowing you and loving you.
You are an ispiration to so many have no idea how many lives you have touched and will continue to touch. I am one of the many...I thank you for that!
May God's will continue to be done in you and through you!
All of my love and prayers always.

bevally said...

Hello Chez, I have just caught up with your journey after all this time, and my heart goes out to you, I won't go into why I haven't been around for some time here, but so pleased to see you still have your will about you. Will drop in now and again to keep up... ((((hugs))))..Bev