We all know that progress rarely occurs in a straight line. Instead, it undulates or peaks and plateaus before peaking again. This is definitely true in cycling and I am finding that it also holds true with dealing with this disease.
After a few weeks of zen, I got sick, got tired and found myself falling back into old, less healthy patterns. I judged, procrastinated, worried and skipped new practices that I know made my life better. I didn't exercise, slacked on my writing, was needlessly unpleasant to bank employees and dropped the ball planning my own birthday party. I let the fatigue win.
Its a delicate balancing act--trying to get back into my normal pre-cancer routines (working, cycling, socializing), but keeping only those elements that are healthy and productive while eliminating the things about that life that weren't so great. Forming new habits is hard...its always three steps forward, a step or two backwards.
The self-judging has been the hardest old habit to brake. The cycle of thinking that I should be working more or feeling stronger. That there isn't ENOUGH to my life...am I healing enough, working enough, resting enough, eating enough good food, exercising enough, getting enough from my relationships. Enough already.
Today's lesson: Living a balanced life is not like standing on solid ground. More like standing on one foot, blindfolded, on a wobble board. It doesn't come naturally--without training, conscious planning, constant adjustment and the acceptance that sometimes we lose our balance and slide off.
So for this cancer patient, it is time to get back on the wobble board. To plan meals ahead of time so I eat well during my bad weeks. To lace up the shoes, put on the rain coat and walk, even when the Portland weather is doing everything it can to discourage us from going outside. To write without worrying whether there is anything relevant or humorous within the words. To not judge myself as weak when the concentration necessary for three hours of lawyer work kicks my ass. To embrace the simple and eliminate the stressful. To remember that even when I feel strong, I need rest. To ask for help when I need it.