For a while now I’ve been struggling with what to say next. Every night I wander in search of inspiration, and rest for my weary mind. Lately, my mind has been too jumbled to do anything but wander in hopes of it finding some peace.
I starting this “habit” long before my diagnosis. But since it, it’s become more important to do.
After I found out about my diagnosis, I kept it to a select few at first. No big Facebook announcement. I didn’t go join any support groups Facebook or otherwise, I kept it inside a lot. I researched and read up on my diagnosis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I read about how rare it is and how it is usually found within those with African American and Jewish descents. Unless…unless they have a specific gene mutation (BRCA1 or BRCA2). I read about the difference in stages and how they are graded. Needless to say, my best friend/sister and now caregiver and I researched and read up on a lot. And my blog on this journey was born, but even still my mind needed to wander to make sense of everything going on around me.
When the time came to finally announce it, I was all nerves. How do you announce something like this?? So, for the next few nights, I sat outside and wandered. Not in a physical sense of I wandered aimlessly walking; I wandered mentally. I knew that my words were going to have an impact, they would matter, and I needed to have the right words to say.
After that initial blog entry to explain everything, I joined several Breast Cancer Support Groups. I knew I would need some support of peers. Through these groups, I met many Pink Sisters from across the world. Sisters who were walking or had already walked down a similar path as mine.
They say that no one can truly understand what you are going through unless they have walking in your shoes down your path. Unfortunately, this is true. But with my support groups, I can ask questions that my doctor may not be able to answer; such as side effects, hair loss, depression, and sometimes just needing to vent.
I also found support from family friends in Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, and Florida. Support in love, prayers, cards (those always make me smile), inspirational gifts, and cookies.
One thing I have found is that my nocturnal habits of sitting outside and allowing myself to wander help to declutter my mind. To try to give my mind some peace before the dreams. To give myself to meditate on the day, or any new information I’ve been given, or just to meditate and wander. Even on days or nights when it rains, I’m still outside for my “me” time. Of course it rains here a lot; but I don’t mind, I love the rain.
I remember a dear friend telling me that it “wasn’t fair” that I was the one with Breast Cancer. To be honest, I’ve accepted this path in my life. I went through the “why me”, the depression (still there), and anger while I was doing my earlier meditations. I’ve sat and cried on the phone to family and close friends, as well as my husband and best friend here, about my fears and if I had done something wrong to deserve this.
I never went through denial. I knew the moment I got that first call, my life was changed forever. I broke down then. It took a while for me to calm down after the news. That night I sat outside for a while allowing my mind to wander. Regardless of my next step, I needed to deal with the news rattling throughout my brain. But I still knew I would fight. Even from the moment I met my Oncologist I knew I would be fighting this through. That’s what being a Pink Warrior is (although I don’t know if I would consider me one), we fight. And we continue to fight.
And I keep on making time to wander.
I’ve seen women in one of the groups ask if we get anxiety. I think the world would be surprised at the amount of responses saying not only yes, but that they struggled with it prior to their diagnosis. So many of us are on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication during (and after) treatment because this is a life altering disease. We will never “get over it.” And just because we “look” good, doesn’t always mean we “feel” good.
Many times when you ask us how we are doing, we will respond with “I’m fine.” This isn’t because we “feel fine,” although sometimes we do; a lot of times our pain, confusion, and depression is so constant that we honestly may not want to keep talking about it. Maybe we just need some time to wander so we can regain our focus, or face some difficult side effects. Maybe by wandering we are better able to declutter our minds and help us to better deal with the depression and anxiety.
I still have the depression. Some of it is brought on by pain, some just because my body is so weary with the chemo treatments. Everyone reacts both similarly and differently to the treatments. But we all put on that brave, positive face and keep pushing on.
I still wander at night because of the stillness of everything. Everyone is asleep, I’m alone on the porch, and my mind starts to unwind. I enjoy the solitude. The stillness of the night (even when it rains), the quietness, and some times the stars help to ease my mind in wandering. Sometimes I do crossword puzzles, others I sit in silence and listen to what God and the world is telling me.
Every night I wander. I wander so I can think better. I wander so I can dream better. I wander every night so that when I finally close my eyes to sleep, there’s peace and my body is finally able to relax as well as my mine.