Do you remember your last family road trip? You got the car packed, charged all of the kids’ devices, stocked up on road food, created the perfect playlist, and finally, backed the car out of the driveway. And then…as you pull up to the first stop sign as you leave your neighborhood, one of your kids says, “Are we there yet?”
That’s me, right now. Sitting at the stop sign at the end of my street, with a long road trip ahead, asking if I’m there yet.
I mean, it’s been two weeks since my bilateral mastectomy. TWO WEEKS! I had the brilliant idea to try taking an indoor cycle class on Saturday. The perfect way to ease back into my active life. No upper body, just spin with easy resistance. Awesome teacher ( I trained him, hehe), awesome energy in the room. Well, needless to say it was a really bad idea. After class I had breakfast with a friend, took my son to hockey, got the boys’ haircuts, and then spent the next 24 hours in bed.
Who is this new person I have become? Who is the recovering Denise? Someone who clearly needs to learn about patience, baby steps, and easing back in. Things I have never been good at. I want this to be over now. I want a fast forward button.
I’d be willing to bet that many of you are responding to this with words you have heard me say many times. “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart…live the questions now. There is nowhere to get to, this is it. Be present. This moment has something to teach you.”
Damn! It all sounds so good and right, until it’s me having to learn this lesson. But learn it I will.
I’m slowing down. I’m letting go of the urgency to get there. I’m surrendering to this. I’m letting my dance with cancer teach me to walk my talk. To be present. To feel the pain and the discomfort. To see the light and the love all around me. It’s actually easier to see when I’m not running at warp speed.
“Who is this new person I have become?” Oh Denise, I totally relate! I asked myself this same question every day for the first 10 years after my car accident. 🙁 Patience is a difficult thing to learn.
I almost lost my mother in January due to an undiagnosed heart condition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) that she had lived with her whole life. She now has a pace maker/defibrillator implanted in her chest that will save her life if her heart ever stops again.
Anyway, my point is that she also had surgery that affected her chest area, and she’s had to do the same thing: slow down. She started by power walking and restorative yoga. Maybe those are two things you could try? I know for a fact that you are good friends with one of the best restorative/yin yoga teachers in the city. 🙂 Be well, and take care of yourself!
If you ever want to talk to someone who has been ill and wondered who they are now…call me! It’s been almost six years since I spent three weeks in the Mayo Clinic and I am still wondering. You gave good advice in your article and also sometimes we just have to become different, acknowledge our limitations and look at the “new” journey we’re on. On the flip side, four years ago we came VERY close to losing my sisters husband to Stage 4, rare subset of non-hodgkins lymphoma. He was diagnosed during his training for the Salt Lake Marathon. On race day, at start time, he walked 1 lap of the hospital floor he was on, having to rest but at 10:00pm he finished! The next year he ran the real Salt Lake Marathon and has done many biking and running races since. He posted on Facebook today “…only 6 months until the Arizona Triathalon.” So yes, baby steps can lead to bigger and bigger things. I’m cheering you on!