The end of September marked 12 months since the end of my breast cancer treatment.
At the end of my treatment everyone was so excited for me, which was really lovely.
“Yay! You’ll have to celebrate! How are you going to celebrate?”
“Oh, I don’t know… I haven’t really thought about it” I’d say.
“It’s all over now… back to normal” they’d lovingly beam.
“Yeah, no more radiotherapy, no more chemo… so good” I’d reply while thinking “Normal, what’s normal? Over? This ride will never really be over!”
“So what are you going to do with your life now?” they’d enthusiastically enquire.
“I’ve decided to take the next 12 months to re-charge my batteries, recover from the gruelling ride and heal. I’m just gunna hang out at home and take stock in a years’ time” I’d say meaningfully.
“That sounds like a great idea… you’ve been through so much” would be the head nodding response. “But don’t hide for too long!”
Hide? Did I say hide?
So… what have I decided to do with myself 12 months on?
Take another friggin 12 months because the last 12 months weren’t long enough or fruitful enough!
How did I celebrate being 12 months on from treatment?
The same way I celebrated the end of treatment.
Curled up in the cushioned comfort of my favourite couch sleeping… my safe place where I can be the real me, the intrinsic me… no masks to wear, no facades to uphold, no judgments penetrating, no expectations piercing… just safety and the realness of being totally true to me and whatever emotion and thought that may wish to be… accepting and acknowledging ‘what is’.
People have asked me “What have you learned from your cancer ride?” Quite honestly I have no inspirational words of profound wisdom to share.
I usually say quite truthfully “I’ve thought about that and I really don’t know… I just really don’t know… at the moment.”
Maybe one day I will but for the moment all I can say with all honesty is that it sucked… it sucked BIG time… not only for me but all around me. I fail dismally at this point in time to find any personal life changing positives worth reporting… and no I’m not choosing to focus on the negatives I’m just stating my truths.
Oh, I have learned one thing…
I now HATE the colour pink! Pink sensory overload. Barf!
There are, however, a couple of things I do ponder that I will share with you. Have they been lessons? My internal jury is still out.
1). I discovered I really really hate this quote…
Now I’m sure the creator of this quote meant it to be all inspirational and all that jazz so no offense is intended. This quote makes me feel like a complete failure because 12 months on I haven’t managed to build my bridge and get over it despite crying many rivers.
Laying the foundations to build that huge bridge is beyond my capabilities and always will be… too offensively overwhelming… too emotionally exhausting… too physically draining.
That’s why I prefer to build footbridges instead.
And I now cry ‘creeks’ instead too!
Footbridges are achievable. The foundations are strong and the sense of accomplishment motivating. They allow me to sit back with satisfaction and appreciate my small milestones while I meander along exploring my new found paths of valued direction, in my own time, until I’m ready to start work on the next crossing.
Why would you want to build a huge friggin bridge to get to the other side of what you’ve been through? And for what? To say you’ve reached your destination? To please those who think the huge effort is what you need to do? And what is that destination? What does it mean to you? What did laying the foundation teach you? What did you see along the way? What are you going to do now you are there? What have you to reflect on?
Foundations built in a hurry to get to the other side are foundations without strength, substance or endurance.
So yeah! I hate that quote. Probably because it screams ‘expectation’ from every damn letter.
I’ll stick with my many footbridges, savouring the blood sweat and tears that lead me onward toward the peak of my mountain where I’ll sit and reflect upon my winding trek, drinking in the undulating valleys of discovery, born and blossoming from the seeds of awareness.
Can’t do that from the other side of a flat friggin bridge!
2). There is nothing, nothing so profoundly touching and uplifting than to find you are cradled in the hearts of so many. Strength for footbridge material right there!
Where do I hope to be at the end of next September?
Maybe at the top of my mountain preparing to embark on the descent down the other side… to who knows where?
Not sure… but I do know I’ll do it one footbridge at a time.
Built any foot bridges lately?
Sarah Elliott says
Good for you, Sandra! A footbridge sounds like an awesome place to start. X
As an aside, well done on creating a lovely blog site……it feels very welcoming!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment Sarah! Welcoming and friendly is what I was hoping people would feel. Xx 🙂
Sonia Life Love Hiccups says
Oh Sandra – how does one even begin to digest all you have been though and do people really expect you to be over it only 12 months on? I say stuff the bridge, dive in the water rather than walk over it, soak in the tears as long as they flow and let them cleanse you and if you want to forever take another 12 months then I say do it chick, sure as hell you have earned it xx
Thank you for your beautiful comment Sonia.
I probably expected (or was really hoping) I’d be further down my healing track 12 months on. I’m accepting and embracing that the time needed is my friend, not my enemy and so are the people around me.
The public, in general, just want to see cancer sufferers well and over their ordeal and that’s lovely… but the truth is once your hair grows back it’s far from over. There is still a whole lot of re-growth going on internally – on an intrinsic level. Well, that’s my truths anyhow. It may not be so for everyone.
Thanks for stopping by gorgeous girl 🙂 Xx
Jo McKenzie says
There was an image that I place on Facebook today which pretty much sums it up, but it won’t let me post it here. So here are the words instead.
“Tears are not a sign of weakness,
but of courage.
Hiding your emotions
is self destructive
never allow you to heal”
So you feel exactly what you need to feel as that is what you need.
I love that Jo! Thankyou!
I’ve always suggested to people to never be afraid of their tears. It’s all just part of our body language, the same as a smile is. Your passage says it so much better. One to share. Xx
Lisa Conn says