Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Living in the present

This has always been a challenge for me, even before cancer. In some ways, it has been to my benefit in the past. Always thinking about the future, planning about what I would do with my career, preparing for whatever the next step would be for my family. Perhaps it gave me a feeling of control over my own destiny. Perhaps it gave me motivation to keep working hard at my/our goals. Or perhaps it was just me being unpatient. Either way, it's how my brain operated. Many a times, I would look forward to the next step, and often not think about the here and now. It's hard to really appreciate the present when you spend your energy focused on what's coming down the pike.
Having been diagnosed with cancer, that sort of forward thinking causes more stress than good. It fosters and feeds a fear of the unknown. Anyone who knows me knows that by nature, I am a pretty optimistic person. One very unfortunate side effect of my disease is its muting of the optimism I was so used to. I found that one of my bigggest hurdles mentally was to stop focusing on the what if. It is hard because truthfully, once you have the unknown sneak up and ambush you, it's impossible to not suffer some sort of emotional trauma. It becomes a learned behavior to focus on the unknown and anticipate when it will rear it's ugly head again. It's hard to not worry about what will happen next.
But I do realize this isn't any way to live. I have spent a significant amount of time and energy learning how to focus on today. I felt like yesterday, I had a break through in that area. I was sitting at my desk at work and started worrying about my upcoming appointments with my surgeon and oncologist. I worried about what would happen if they run scans and the results are less than desirable... In that moment, I thought to myself, so what. I can't let what may or may not happen in a month from now. There is a part of me that wants very much to have answers. But there is a part of me that is learning to accept that being in that limbo place between appointments is nice. Right now, I am acting as if I am cancer free. And in this moment, I am able to do a decent amount. I am physically well enough to work, to do Mary Kay, to spend time with my family, to help plan the Wellness walk in support of the Cancer Support Community (ahem, have you signed up to join me yet??), and well enough to exercise. Those are all blessings in this moment. I need to enjoy them.
The truth is, I pray constantly about my future and ask for wellness, and I am working towards that end as much as possible. But I can't let my forward looking ways distract me from enjoying my present. I am glad to have a clear enough mind to write. I am glad to have an able enough body to do what I please. I am glad to enjoy the blessings and be hopeful about my future. I am glad to work where I do and to be able to contribute to the capacity that I do. I am glad to have a loving husband and the most beautiful little boy to keep me smiling.

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