Thursday, October 30, 2014

Learning how to get people out of your grill

People have opinions.  I know this may seem obvious but as someone who until recently felt like I didn't show up in people's radar, it's sort of a new concept. I also more recently have felt more sure of my decisions and feel possibly less reseptive or less tolerant in people's opinions, in certain situations.  

It's hard to not swing completely one way or another when you go through something so specific that makes so many people royally uncomfortable. As a consequence people give you their opinions about things that you do or have happen to you without you asking.  When I ask, I want it and when I don't I don't.  

So, I am slowly learning how to get people out of my grill.  

This has mainly occurred at work. I work with a number of individuals that act that if you aren't doing things to further your career in the way they would, then "you're doing it wrong". As a consequence this results in a lot unsolicited advice about how I should further my career. 

This senerio is actually the perfect time to learn to stand up for myself and stop the behavior, without getting too mad and not revealing my whole "hand". I'm almost at the point where I'm going to scream "I have a career plan and it has nothing to do with you" but I realize that is unproductive. So, I'm learning how to get around the behavior without killing people and slowly getting there. By standing up for myself I've realized I can stop people from doing certain things and I deserve to not have go suffer through behavior that annouyes me. 

Having cancer doesn't alwAys mean you act sick, or two steps forward one step back

So you know the shitty thing about cancer.... Wow quite the opener and yes this could be basically anything. But today I'd like to talk about the challenge created between your mental and physical body. 

The weird thing about treatment is the complete unpredictablity of how you're going to feel. The doctors will always tell you to take it easy but that doesn't mean that you should or need to. But that doesn't mean you should go to work either. What some people under or over estimate is the mental strain on your body. And really that's the thing to be comtended with. 

I've basically spent the last 9 months (hey as long as a pregnancy but not nearly as rewarding) have many strong discussions about what I want to do verses what my body is telling me to do, and actually the other way, sometimes my body is the positive influence on my mind.  I've been thankful for my yoga practice through all this because it has allowed me to move my body in a gentel and mindful way.  But overall there has been days I've wanted to do stuff and physically couldn't . Days I've physically wanted to do things and mentally couldn't and everywhere in between.  Even through my medical leave I celebrated the days I went to yoga, and sometimes even when my yoga practice was 90% on my back.  And I did so without worry or apology for actually feeling good enough to get off the couch before radiation. 

The other thing no one thinks about is the lasting after effects of treatment.  You think, " yay I'm done with trestment, I get my life back" and to a certain extent you do right away. I mean I don't miss having to go to the hospital 5 days a week. That was just all kinds of not fun. But when you're bodies been to war you forget that it takes a while to bouce back. Even the doctors tell you it could take a year to feel back to "normal".  

Soo, you go back to your old routine or something similar (since I realized my old routine wAsnt working in the long run) but lately I've felt myself slipping that way and feeling a little crazy.  It's a stark reminder that I am not the same. And that I have to be aware of that and make adjustments. And be gentle with myself and be unapologetic about it. Just because I don't look sick any more doesn't mean I don't need some kid gloves occasionally.  It's important to go back to listening to yourself and screwing the worlds opinion. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Reflections on Stupid Cancer


A week ago I got the chance to accompany Lauren to the OMG East summit in NYC for the foundation.  And let's say in brief it was amazing. Just the energy around being with other cancer survivors and patients and knowing that everything I've been dealing with they were also dealing with in their own way. 

But let's get into the details.   I look a half day at work and met Lauren at South Station to take the train down.  As I was going down I realized in my entire life I've only been to NYC 5/6 times including this one. I've taken the train before and though long is a much lovlier way to go.  In my option. 

We enjoyed an uneventful trip down (unless you count a snarky snack car attendant eventful) we arrived in the hub of Manhatten and managed to get a cab over to the hotel. 

The hotel was REALLY nice. We dropped our stuff and went out in search of veggies.... Hard to travel with veggies, just saying. We managed to stumble upon this place called juice jive... It sort of had the vibe of a subway but was a juice and salad bar. We had a really nice discussion with the owner and then walked back to fall into bed. Gotta love NYC. 

Fluffy beds are awesome. 

The conference was Saturday, so we cabbed it down to NY law school and got it going. It was BIG. There were tons of people caregivers and patients alike. In all stages of treatment. We got our swag and settled in. 

The first talk was by Italia Ricci, who is the star of the abc family show Chasing Life. So that was pretty cool. She discussed her role and what it was like to play someone with cancer. It was neat and to know that someone depicting one version of a cancer journey actually does some advocacy too, and had trouble Turning it off was pretty cool.  Humanity does connect us and to know someone in Hollywood who is playing such a role actually cares was neat. 

The next lecture was by a psychologist who sees a lot of cancer patients. It was a very appropriate talk because she focused on getting back into life and reiterated some things I'd been thinking and feeling. I took some notes there and think they'll be helpful in the loving forward. 

Lunch was provided and gave us a chance to chat with people at our table. And explore the vendors.  The people at our table were cool and all I'm saying, check out the etsy store survival organs... Awesome and kind of hilarious. 

The first lecture after lunch sounded good but ended up being a bit of a flop in my opinion. It was about the lobby for chemical controls in supply chains... Like how bad flame retardant is and how stuff like that isn't regulated at all. Which I kind of knew.  But over all it did not give a concrete set of things to do to fix or help yourself.  I am going to try these two aps:  good guide and think dirty... Knowledge is power. 

The last panel was a survivor panel, which I loved. The questions were thought provoking for me and interesting to hear the responses of the others.  As the questions were asked If answer them in my head... I unfortunately don't remember any specifically but they were cool. 

After there was a social hour which I went to for a minute, and then left to go surprise Sarah, who teaches at Lyons Den Yoga, which happened to be around the corner from where I was. That was fun too. Nothing better then surprising a friend and getting the "wait you should be in Boston face" priceless. We caught up for a bit and the I met back up with Lauren... We had places to be. 

Where you say??? The Capitol Grill on Wall Street.  How fun is that?  Lauren had received an award so they planned fun stuff for us, her and guest, including a fancy dinner. 

It was delicious and decadent and fun. We poured ourselves into bed later the. Usual but totally worth it.

Sunday was lazy. Woke up late and made our way to the spa (another surprise for me) before made my way to the bus and back to boston. 

Such a great and inspiring weekend, and our hotel was close to a really famous theater. How cool was that.