How to “deal” with it

 How to “deal” with it…

                                        …it being Cancer?

childhood cancerAhem, Attention, Attention please. I, Mama Emma will now share my secrets as to how to “deal” with Cancer…

Um, yeah, I have no idea.

hehehe, its probably the number one question I get asked. How I lived through my son getting sick, how my marriage didn’t fall apart, how I didn’t pull my hair out, how life went on. The truth is, you don’t have a choice! You HAVE to be strong! You cannot crumble into a million peices because your child is counting on you. I’m not going to lie, I certainly thought about never getting out of bed ever again. But you have to get up, no matter your circumstance.

A wise Auntie of mine told me an epic story, its been lost from my memory by now (I dont have a very good memory to begin with) But it was something about a kid that had to go to piano lessons, he was scared and unsure, the first couple of lessons, he would hide under the piano bench. The teacher would try to coax him out but there he sat, hiding. She just went on with the lesson with him under the bench. Eventually, the boy made it ON TOP of the bench and was able to learn his music. He realized he was good at it and only his only fear was holding him back. She told me this story and it really stuck with me. At the time I was quite depressed and everyday life was a struggle. So I started to judge my day like “this is an under the bench kinda day” or “Im on the bench, but holding on for dear life!” And best of all? I realized that even though the boy was hiding under the bench, he was learning, he was soaking in the lesson, getting to know the teacher and the music. An “under the bench” kinda day is not the end of the world, yeah, it sucks, but make the best of a crappy day and keep your ass on TOP of the bench! And also, that my own fear and worry was holding me back! I was missing out on some days that could be really amazing and for what? Worry? Guilt? Depression? No thanks…

Throughout Griffin’s journey with cancer, I had varying degrees of insomnia, but early on in his treatments were the worst! I would lie in bed and worry, I would go over the “what ifs” over and over in my head. I would also go over everything to do with his cancer care, all this meds (24 in all, all taken at different times, different doses, some with food, some with zero food, etc) to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Then I would go over the days and weeks to come, planning out food, what packing at to be done, organizing, all in my head. All i could think of was CANCER CANCER CANCER. When I did finally fall asleep, I would have horrid, life-like dreams and nightmares, most of which centred around cancer (I know, big surprise eh?) The worst one I would repeatedly have is, I would go in Griffin’s room while he was sleeping and take a melon baller (apparently that was hot) and carve out the tumour from his face. I could smell the flesh burning and feel the blood pouring over my hands. I would wake up suddenly and franticly, in a pool of sweat, and I would have to sneak into Griffin’s room to make sure I didn’t actually DO anything (We don’t even own a melon baller! LOL) Needless to say, after having a nightmare like that, it was VERY hard to go to sleep. Actually, I really didn’t WANT to go to sleep for fear that I would dream that again…

In truth, I wasn’t really dealing with “it” well, I was walking around like a stunned zombie. My doctor gave me sleeping pills as well as pills for stress and anxiety. But they just took the edge off, and I didn’t feel emotional at all, like either way, happy or sad. I just, was there. Then one day I realized, that I wasn’t enjoying my favourite song, normally I would have cranked up the radio, opened the sunroof and bopped along to my song. But there I was driving along, not caring. This was not me. I didn’t feel suicidal or anything, I just didn’t FEEL anything. I knew this wasn’t me and I knew I had to find someone to talk too. I reached out to the free therapy available through my work. I met with a man that wanted to deconstruct my childhood, he wanted to “get in my head” and see the true “meaning” of my issues. I was totally creeped out and RAN from his office! I was really really scared to go and see someone else. I waited a couple of weeks and then called again. This time I talked to “A” over the phone. The whole conversation was basically about her, she was a mother and wife, ran a laid back office and she gave me her website to see if I wanted to look her up and see if I felt comfortable talking to her! Well! This was EXACT opposite to the last dude I talked too. I walked into “A”s tiny little office, and sat on a fake leather couch, ikea-style. She was warm and smiling, blonde and tiny short. I instantly liked her. She started out the session just asking me why I was there. Well, that started the flood gates. I BLLLLLLLAAAAAHHHHHed my whole story out in out like a barf for an hour of a conversation. I couldn’t talk fast enough, going over the horror of the past couple of months. It felt SO good telling someone the whole truth, without sugar coating, or holding back to protect their feelings. It felt freeing. By the time I was done, SHE was in tears. Again, I was unfeeling, just telling my story. The first few visits was just me telling my story, going over facts and stuff, making sure I got it right. After awhile, I started to enjoy going to see her! I liked the feeling of bouncing things off of her, seeing her opinion of how to deal with a rude doctor, or an insurance company agent I wanted to strangle or whatever. She asked me one day what the beads were that I held in my hand. I never noticed that I did this, but apparently, i would fiddle with Griffin’s bravery beads (he gets a bead everything he gets a poke, needle, xray, mri, chemo, radaiation, etc) I was using them like prayer beads maybe? They kept me grounded and present in the conversation. Now, this therapist and I are no longer “seeing” each other but we do keep in touch through email and I update her on major events and stuff. She was an amazing part of my recovery. And I am ever so thankful for her!!!

So in closing…my advice to deal with it? I dunno, I just fumbled my way through it, which is probably what you have to do as well. I wish you good luck and remember to trust your gut and hug your babies tight tonight!

XOX

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