Loose Ends

I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks and it wasn’t because I had a holiday.  That would have been nice for sure, but I have booked one for next year and I’m already living into it — a week on the Gold Coast and I can see it clearly.

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Take the tax return for instance.  It’s a job that could have been completed ten months ago but as it’s not one of my favourite tasks I put it off. Again and again until it was almost time to do the next one.  Duh!

I’m definitely doing the next one by the end of this month so I don’t have to worry about it. That’s what I did — worried about it when I could have just knuckled down, done it and got on with my life.  I can’t even use the excuse that I was too busy because I have plenty of time to set aside to do it, I just did’t want to.

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I know I will feel much better when I do these pesky jobs, but still put them off.  I’m taking a wild stab here but probably not the only one like that.  I’ve always looked at people who are super organised and wondered how they do it.  I could do it when I worked, but don’t seem to be able to keep up to date with housework — which is so stupid really because if I did it regularly it would’t take very long at all.

So it feels great to have gotten lots of fiddly tasks out of the way plus some of the big ones.  But I’ve finally stopped telling myself that I will get it all done and then keep things that way.  Because that just doesn’t work for me anymore.

So I guess I’ll just keep having to tidy up loose ends for the rest of my life, although I will endeavour to keep them at a minimum.

Well I’d better go and tackle the ironing basket now.

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What if…?

I didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night as I had litany of ‘What if’s’ running on a loop through my brain.  So every time I closed my eyes I ran through another what if scenario.  Not the most fun I’ve had lately.

It was all due to an experience I had on Saturday afternoon.  I was driving  out to visit my son  and the highway was reasonably busy with traffic going both ways.   As I began to slow down for my turn-off a few hundred metres ahead I put my indicators on then saw a  flash of silver near my front tyre and then an almighty bang as the oncoming car took out my side mirror.

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Amazingly I managed to keep on my path, slow down and turn off the road where I’d planned.  I think I might have uttered an expletive at the time.  But as I turned off the highway I apologised to my (very religious) passenger and swore soundly several times and then pulled up on the side of the road to inspect the damage.   The car that had been travelling behind followed  and pulled up behind me. The driver came up to my side window and asked if I was all right.  He said they’d seen the silver car veer across the road into my lane and the debris flying as the car hit me and was amazed that a catastrophe had been avoided — there was a lot of traffic on that road.

 

How often do we live our lives looking back and wondering if something else had happened yada yada yada.

Looking back to reminisce occasionally is fine, but constantly looking back and wondering is futile.  It gets you absolutely nowhere. Theres the old proverb that says something about when one door closes we are often so busy looking at it that we miss the next door opening — the next opportunity.

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So I’m endeavouring to look forward — onwards and upwards from now on because I see that I’ve wasted a lot of my time dwelling on the ‘What if’s..’

And perhaps the driver of the car that hit me has  had a huge wake-up call to pay attention when your’e driving on a busy highway at one hundred kilometres an hour — life can change in an instant.  Oh, and there are some really good people around  — like the man who stopped to see if was okay when I was doing my jelly impression.angel art artistic baby

Anyway as I said to a friend “Only the good die young”  and obviously my time is not yet up.

Giddy

I remember as a child when I’d been lucky enough to have a ride on merry-go-round how it felt when I first got off  — dizzy, but euphoric as well.

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That probably best describes how I’ve been feeling for the past week or so, as it has gradually sunk in that surgery — amongst other choice medical things is not on the immediate radar.  In fact,  hopefully not ever on my radar.

I made the comment when I was first given the news that potentially I had lung cancer, that I’d stepped on the medical merry-go-round.  And thats exactly what it feels like.  You aren’t given much time to think over the doctors suggestions,  simply expected to do as they tell you.

Actually it was rather amusing to see the reaction of my specialist when I said no to a biopsy first up.  He was a bit shocked to have a patient speak up for themselves I think.  I eventually conceded, but that was two visits later after a barrage of tests and it appeared to be the only option left.  Still it was a good feeling to keep some control over my life when everything seemed to be moving at a rapid pace.

So after a while riding that horse, you become accustomed to the medical sense of urgency.  The belief that ‘they’ know all and you are just there at their bidding with no real autonomy — just another number.  Especially in the public system — I’d had to wait three months to see the specialist in the beginning.

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It becomes difficult to maintain the positive thinking; to focus on anything but the negative outlook the doctors convey.   Oh they speak in generally hopeful terms, but the tone and the language leaves you feeling that all will not be well in your world.

So now, back to the positive mindset which is my default.  It’s feeling great to not be striving for optimism but to revert to my ‘normal’ optimistic and positive self.

Now I’m really ready to live my life fully again; to enjoy every moment I can and stop the doubtfull background thinking that doctors, x-rays, hospitals and so on instill in you.

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I’m alive and loving it.

 

Almost Normal

For the past three months I’ve been living in a state of intermittent anxiety—medically induced I might add.    I’d have days where I was feeling really upbeat, positive about the outcome and then days where all I could think about were the ‘what if’s’.

Not a lot of fun really.

Still six weeks doesn’t seem like much time — unless you are waiting on a potentially life-changing outcome, jumping at shadows.  Then it seems like an eternity.                 All was reasonably okay until I had the check cat scan — then I had to wait another week to get the results, and I started to fall apart.

It was truly an awful week, as I vacillated between thinking that all would be well, to days when I was sure the tumour had grown to fill my entire lung!  Melodramatic I know, but when you’re in the middle of it then melodrama seems to be reasonable.

Of course I didn’t share any of my nasty thoughts with anyone — I stoically managed inside my head.  That doesn’t work too well either.

Living in a state of limbo when you’re not sure what will be, is kind of torturous.

Anyway the day finally arrived for my appointment with the specialist to learn my fate — I was counting down the hours.  Finally we were sitting in his consulting room with the cat scan pictures on his computer screen and then he said that the lesion  (he wasn’t calling it a tumour anymore)   had shrunk by around twenty percent!  Shrunk!

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Amazing!  Wonderful!  Almost too hard to comprehend actually.  But he explained further and showed us the pictures and yes it was definitely smaller than three months ago.  What a relief.  Of course there is the obligatory six month check cat scan to do at the end of the year, but thats a long way off.

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It was like a huge weight or black cloud had been lifted off me.  I could make plans again.  I could live life again without having the background thoughts of doom.

We drove to Melbourne and met up with my two brothers and sisters-in-law and went out for dinner.  Had a great night and woke the next day still feeling amazing.  But that only lasted a day.  I found myself withdrawing somewhat, quietly disbelieving that I was okay.

The mind plays really funny tricks on you.

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I still went about my normal activities, functioning quite well but inside I felt really flat.  Maybe it is because I’ve been in such a state of anxiety on and off for the past seven months that it becomes difficult to let go.  I know that’s common with habits, so perhaps my way of living had become a habit.

So now I’m working on changing that for the better.  I’ve started exercising again — just walking for half an hour a day, bike riding two or three times a week with Ross (I’ve become so unfit that it will take quite a while to get back to something like I was twelve months ago)  and making plans for the future without having to wonder if I’ll be able to do things.

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I’m living again and feeling almost normal.

 

Should

A fairly innocuous little word with a wealth of meaning behind it.  I hear it a lot, and I’m guilty of saying it plenty myself.  But what does it really mean?  Is it just a word we use without thinking much about it — a habit we’ve added to our lists that is one of those words used unconsciously?

Recently it was pointed out to me that the word ‘Should’ means resentment, and when I stop to think about it, that makes sense.

I should do the dishes — I know at some point I have to but I don’t really want to.  Or I should pay  ‘X’ bill  but that means I have to find the account, open up the computer and log on to my bank.  Then there will be other things I need to look at there and I really can’t be bothered at the moment!

Sound familiar ?  Another one — I should go for a walk, but I’ve got the dishes to do and the bills to pay and they are way more important than exercise.  Oops it getting late now and I can’t go for a walk on my own in the dark etc, etc.

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I’ve just realised that I haven’t done half the things I ‘should’ have done in the past five and half weeks whilst I wait to have my next CT scan.  Then when I have that this week, I have to wait another week to find out the results and ultimately my fate. person wearing round silver colored analog watch

I’ve noticed that lately I’m beginning to really resent all the things I should do whilst I hover in limbo waiting.  Asking lots of question — mainly inside my head — will I just be put on a ‘watch and see’ treatment, or will I have to go off to have that chat with the surgeon.  Meanwhile I’m making some attempt to be ‘good’ just in case the news isn’t favourable.  And whilst I’m not exactly sitting around waiting for the verdict, I haven’t really been living my life the way I’d like to.

In short I’m feeling resentful and annoyed — but it does feel much better now that I’ve vented.  Really I haven’t got a lot to complain about when everything is taken into account.  I did make the decision several years ago — after Kelly’s death — that I wouldn’t go down the rabbit hole of guilt and blame.  That I wouldn’t entertain any ideas about what I ‘should’ have done.  It’s done and I can’t go back and change any of it now.   It’s futile revisiting that time telling myself that the decisions I made with the knowledge I had should have been different.

I think I’ll just go and  have another cup of coffee whilst I ponder where I’ve misplaced my crystal ball.

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Letting Go

I used to think that if you let something go it was gone forever.  Like letting go the hand of a person in raging floodwaters — if you did, they’d be gone forever — most likely.
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Various  incidents over the years had given me confirmation of that — like when we let Kelly go her own way in the months leading up to her suicide.  At the time I didn’t see that there was any other option.  So I (we) let her go.  We still kept tabs on her, knew a lot about what was happening with her — on the surface, but essentially we’d let her go.  Then she came back and we started to think that all was well, that we’d done the right thing in letting her go.

And then she suicided.  We lost her completely.  Never to return and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it.  So there was confirmation, that when you let something go  — you lose it.

But my thinking has changed gradually over the years.  I’m now realising that the old poem about loving something and setting it free, then if it comes back it was meant to be —or thereabouts  — was probably right.

I’ve come to see that my children — for instance — are not mine forever.  I don’t have to keep tabs on them all the time, or make them feel guilty for not keeping in touch.  If they choose to be in contact with me however, that’s a wonderful bonus.  But if they don’t, then they can live their lives as they want to and thats it.

I remember visiting my parents and grumbling to myself all the way there, wishing myself anywhere else, but feeling the obligation that was instilled in me.

I see that it really was my choice to let go or not.  I may not have done it any differently, but knowing that I had that choice may have made the visit feel better.

Like cleaning out a cupboard and dispensing with stuff I haven’t used for years, I’m learning to let go.

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And it feels awesome.

Reprieve or Awakening

Two weeks ago I made my visit to the Specialist to find out my fate.  I’d had my biopsy — and what a fun time that was!   I’d managed the subsequent collapsed lung okay, although it still gave me some trouble at times.  So Ross and I presented ourselves to find out the result of the biopsy.  I was more than a little anxious and I’m sure he was too, although we pretended really well that whatever the outcome we’d be okay with it.  hammer-sledgehammer-mallet-tool.jpg

The doctor called us in to his room saying:  “Well I don’t have any bad news for you !” Interesting choice of words I thought — why not say its good news?  Anyway he is not prepared to concede it is good news, but it is not all bad.  So I guess I have to run with that.  I’m not completely off the hook just because the specimens they took don’t show any cancer.  So now the waiting resumes, as I’m to repeat the CT in a few weeks time and then ‘they’ will decide what to do then.  If the tumour has grown then I’m off to have a chat with the surgeon.  But at least he did concede that it appeared to be a little smaller when they did the biopsy.  Happy days!

From the outset I have chosen to go with the flow, accepting that it is what it is.  However I have discovered quite a lot about myself over the past few weeks — months really if I count getting asthma too.  I’ve learnt that some of the people around me see  that I’m actually worth loving.  And I’ve certainly had plenty of that.  It most certainly  was there all the time but in my feelings of unworthiness I couldn’t really see or feel it.  I do now.

I also have found amazing support in my doctor — my GP; my naturopath, my pranic healer and of course in my own ability to take care of myself.   I’ve also had lots of time to reflect on my situation — not all of it positive — but the negative aspects have to be dealt with before you can see the better side of life.

Undoubtedly the biggest revelation has been that I don’t have to do everything myself. That it’s alright to ask for help or assistance — no-one is going to suggest I should manage every little thing because it is my life.  Thats what friends are for.

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I’ve also realised that I don’t have to take the blame for all of the major disasters in my life.  Yes, there have been some very shitty things happen but I’m not the one responsible for all of them.  Kelly chose to take her own life and whilst that is a tragedy, there has been much to learn from it.  Maybe if i’d known then what I know now I could have done more to stop it.  But then again maybe not.

I will never know, and I don’t think I really want to.  Really I’ve had rather an amazing life and I’m anticipating a lot more of it with gratitude.pexels-photo-208165.jpeg