Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who Am I?

If I am not my Breast Cancer and I am not my Grief then 'Who am I?'

Why is is that I am feeling that I have little in my life other than my cancer and my grief. Having mentioned the word 'coincidence' several times lately I have come to realise there is a 'pattern' to my life of late. It is not just a coincidence that I am in this place. It probably began at the time of my marriage to Haydn. In 1996 we returned from our honeymoon. On the way home I began to question  myself, asking if I had made a mistake?  Haydn and I were 'soul mates' during our courtship. Or so it seemed!  Haydn's daughter Claire now says I was 'duped.' The person that courted me was not the father she knew or the man I married. Anyway, that aside, I suspect I suffered from depression in the early days and was very grateful that I found the strength to leave. I felt I had reclaimed my life.

My Breast Cancer diagnosis in March 2003 had little effect on my day to day activities and it was enough for Haydn and I to resume our life together. I had a melanoma removed in 1996 and considered myself blessed to have been referred to a surgeon that believed anything resembling a melanoma should be removed fully rather than biopsied. The world was my oyster. I was never going to see my son an orphan. I felt well and optimistic.

At the time of Jeremy's accident in November 2006 Claire was preparing to depart for New York. Haydn sold the family home as it was our intention to retire in June 2007 and move to a new home at the farm. It was to be a 'new beginning' for us. Haydn's business partner put a stop to the Company trading account that June, being the end of our Financial Year. We ended up preparing for a court battle, as well as living in a site shed at the factory for as long as it took to wind things up. That turned out to be 18 months. I suspect the 'rot' began to sink in about that time. Friends that I had known for years appeared not to be able to handle my loss. I began to withdraw and preferred to be alone at the shopping centres where I could simply drink coffee and watch the world go by. There were less tears that way!

I realise that life with Haydn can be difficult due to his antisocial behaviour. He can be intolerant! He has more than enough good points to compensate. That was not a problem when I was well and we lived in town. I simply lived my own life allowing him to do the same. I loved my role in the Charismatic Renewal as well as my study to become a team member at the Newcastle Healing Rooms. It pleased me to have the opportunity to undertake the preparation to be a Prayer Counsellor. As long as I had a vehicle and a telephone I felt free! And then, of course, I was preparing to  become a Funeral Celebrant.

'Is freedom a state of mind?' I am confused! I am lost! Today, I received a note from Brenda which touched me so deeply that I sat began to sob.

'If only I could understand the reason for my crying. If only I could stop this fear of dreaming that I'm dying' - Laura Palmer

Several times I have skirted around the situation with life as it is today. Yesterday I commented to Haydn that I do not like the person I have become. I even admitted to feeling resentment towards him, meaning that I see him living his dream while I feel 'trapped.' When he told me that his late wife Leigh had said the same thing warning bells rang in my ears.

For more than 2 years I have lived with the pain and uncertainty of life. That is doable! Today I realised that the love in my heart has been replaced by fear. Living with the uncertainty of my condition is bearable. I have come to the conclusion that I  am not ready to die. This has come as a complete shock. I had believed that the date was written in the Book of Life. My role in life no more than simply 'being.' It may be nothing more than to be of service to others that will give me a feeling of contentment:

'Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy'....Lao Tzu

Since beginning this blog I have used my writing as a tool to keep me strong. And positive! Although it may seem that all is well in my little world, in reality I am afraid.  I have recently used ideas from Brenda's Blog to resurrect tools acquired over many years to reclaim my life in the belief that I will return to a healthy state of mind allowing the fear in my heart to be replaced with love once more. For those interested in what Brenda had to say, the words that allowed the flood gates to open -

'Cheryl My Darling, You haven't given up on any front!! You've had so much loss to deal with plus your own cancer. I think you've done an exceptional job at surviving mentally, physically and emotionally. Yes, there are aspects of your life you wish were different, but you're taking back your power and making changes that will benefit you and Haydn. I'm so proud of you for putting more of an emphasis on yourself. The hypnosis tapes, meditating, prayer, will all help you get centered so you can move forward and make better decisions from a place of calm. Bravo! You don't have to fix everything, today, but embrace those small changes and tweak them in for the maximum benefit. I'm proud of you! You've got grit, girl! XOXOXO, Brenda'


Kaz said...

Chez you are the most gorgeous lady i know. will post more later as Payten is crying and i am watching her.

Love you,Kaz..XO

nancyspoint said...

Chez, I think you are too hard on yourself because I see that you still have love and caring in your heart, not just fear. I see you commenting with care, compassion and love on too many blogs to believe otherwise. You have had to deal with more than anyone should have to in recent years and that shatters you at times, understandably. That's how I see it anyway. Hang in there.

stonepost said...

Chez, I have just found your blog and already I am a follower! It is truthful and heart rendering, open and well written. Tomorrow I will be looking forward to catching up on your past blogs! We are in a secret society, Cancer Survivors, and if that didn't kill us and we overcame the vodoo cure, we might be immortal! My right hand isn't getting better and probably won't but I am getting used to it. There are a lot of members in our group and I am so pleased to have met you!

julie said...

You are not your cancer, but it is part of you. And you are not your grief, but it is still part of you. I've been thinking a lot about that myself lately. We are all so very much more than our disease or grief. But they are still with us, cannot be denied. Question is - in what way, how big a part?

Even if it feels like fear is the biggest thing, it's not the only thing in your heart. It's obvious reading your posts that there is so much more. Maybe it's just that the fear yells louder than love...

Chez said...

Thanks Kazzy xo

Chez said...

Nancy,I would like to believe that what you have said is true. Most times I feel well able to offer hope and understanding. It is time to let YOUR thoughts become MY reality once more.
My love and gratitude to you..

Chez said...

Thank you StonePost
I too am glad we 'found' each other. Thanks to blogging, we realise this is not quite the 'secret' society it once was. Love your reference to the vodoo cure. Neuropathy is difficult to live with. My loss of function is due to nerve and muscle damage from disease and treatment. Unfortunately!
Looking forward to getting to learn more about your journey...

Chez said...

Julie thank you for the reminder that we are3 more than our disease, grief etc. Just how much more seems to change with time and circumstance. I am finding the journey tough going at the moment. Hopefully, having put some of your ideas into practise I will once again be putting my best fot forward. Walking each day.
I appreciate that you have identified different components of this post. Just maybe the fear is being heard and I can change that.
Love and gratitude

Maundering mutterer said...

Its wonderful of you to share on such a personal level. Far be it from me to advise. You've the wisdom, and indeed, the strength to make any offer of advice from me useless. I hope and believe that you are surrounded by love and I likewise hope and believe that your strength of will will triumph despite the buffetings of fate.