Since my surgery 2 weeks ago, I am feeling much better—now that some of the sticky layers of the wound dressing have come off, and now that my nausea has passed. I am up and around since day 1, getting some light exercise through walking and looking after myself—as well as through returning all kinds of caring hugs that I have been receiving (in person and virtually)! During this time, I treat my back to a massage to make up for no Pilates exercises for a couple of weeks, and I do some osteopathic treatments to help increase the range of motion in my left shoulder and to reduce the pain in my upper left chest area that occurs every time I move my left arm and when I lay down to sleep. Skin, fascia and muscle have been cut, after all. Generally, though, I feel even more tired these days, if that is even possible. I am most happy to get back on my bike for some slow and gentle riding, as the 5 days of walking everywhere was wearing me out!
In preparation for dealing with my broken tooth, I also pile onto my plate a bunch of research and decisions. Having been rewarded with a crown, I knew that its installation would inevitably disturb, and release into my body, some mercury vapours and dust from my old amalgam filling in that tooth. And having lived most-probably with the neurological consequences of systemic heavy metal exposure throughout my life, I decide to take heavy metal chelating precautions to prevent further exacerbation. One could very well do a PhD thesis on the subject, of which I only scratch the surface once more, but my cursory research and discussions with naturopathic doctors lead me to conclude that food-based chelating will likely be my best option at this time. Stocking up on garlic, cilantro and chlorella (green algae), I load onto my iTouch some more of my favourite tunes, pop a muscle relaxant to help me keep my jaw open, and head over on my bike for the 2-hour round 1 of the tooth crowning. It even proves to be a relatively relaxing experience!
I have been feeling quite fortunate and supported by my family, friends and colleagues nearby and from a distance since I decided to share my most recent health challenges more widely.
I have the good fortune of sharing my Special Dish for the Week of Eggplant, Tomato and Cashew Curry with my relatives from Poland, who visited Vancouver for a week just days after my surgery. Given all that is going on with me cancer, surgery, tooth and energy-wise, I am still able to play mostly virtual tour guide for their adventures, joining them towards the end of their visit for some light site-seeing on a day-trip to Victoria. I am also glad for the chance to accompany them on a nature walk in Lynn Canyon Park. The walk over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge makes me feel that I am definitely still holding on to life’s rope of steel.
My other supports over the past few weeks have come in a multitude of forms, shapes and sizes. Along with good thoughts, prayers and well-wishes, I receive a number of lovely and life-supporting affirmations—posted on my website and shared with me by phone, email and snail-mail. I also receive a number of financial and culinary treats—including several lovingly prepared servings of tasty veggie lasagne, healthful quinoa salad, juicy local strawberries, and a chocolate bunny.
I am showered with friendly accompaniments to my pre-surgical La Brasserie dinner ritual, and to my post-surgical walks through Vancouver’s West End to the bank to make my deposits and via my secret garden to the downtown farmers market to help me carry my groceries home. A good friend wakes super early to accompany me by bike to my 8:30 am surgery, and later picks me up from surgery by car. Another brings me a bouquet of red roses and more organic fair trade chocolate. My supportive Developmental Editor conscientiously picks up for me a used copy of the “Finding Your Own North Star” book for my upcoming journey. One could get used to all the loving and caring attention!
I think what helps keep me going the most at this moment—energy-wise and low-stress-wise, too—is the knowledge that I have initiated a break for myself: while I undergo these harsher treatments of surgery and soon-to-start radiation; to make time for the multitude of immune system supporting and strengthening strategies; and in order to make space in my life for some revelation of how to better channel my life force so that it doesn’t continue expressing through my overzealous cancerous cells.
In the short-term, too, what gives me some reprieve is an upcoming event—inspired by an insightful conversation with my Developmental Editor a few weeks ago about child-birthing—that I created for myself, which I call “Maggie’s Week in Pursuit of Boredom”. The basic idea is to limit the amount and variety of activities one does for a specified period of time in order to have the time and the space to better connect with one’s baby—or with oneself. I would like to use this time to continue discovering “what brings me peace”.
This week is just a trial run, though, because how can one really attempt to get bored when something is already booked-in for 5 out of the 7 days! Some of these are my last chance to take advantage of extended health coverage—to fix my broken tooth and to stretch my surgically disrupted fascia and muscle—before it expires when my employment ends at the end of the month.
Putting on the brakes on one’s activity level is rather hard and labourious work! I have been strategising—as much as I actually had time to strategise and prepare for this “Week in Pursuit of Boredom”—for how to actually pull it off, knowing myself well enough to know that if I don’t give myself some boundaries, rules and ideas for things to do, the event will be a failure. I will either revert quickly to my ever-present and ever-growing to-do list, or it will be an unsatisfying experience. I want to set this up as a win-win goal, where I cannot fail, because if I get bored at some point during the week, then I will have achieved my goal—and if I don’t reach the point of boredom, then I will have given myself evidence that I am still living a fulfilling life even at just a fraction of the activity level that I typically operate at.
So far the rules include:
- 1 week: June 25 – July 1, 2014
- Other than the 5 things already scheduled, no more scheduling.
- If people want to call me, email me, or drop by on a whim—and if I’m around, and feel like answering, that will be great—but no more scheduled stuff into that week!
- Maximum of 2 daily goals (other than getting up, washing, eating, and boosting my immune system).
- Of course I have a list, which I am considering calling: the “un-do list”, or the “like-to-do list”, or the “just being list”—and perhaps the next time I try this, I will have advanced to the “no list” week.
- Item #1 on my daily “just being list” is: to give myself permission to do what I feel like doing that day regardless of the even minimal goals I set for myself.
- And my “un-do list” naturally includes my rather lengthy and well-overdue bedside table “book list”.
This “Maggie’s Week in Pursuit of Boredom” is also potentially a cancer treatment strategy. As one friend suggested, this could be the “bore your cancer cells to death” technique. After all, since cancer cells are more likely to be the fast dividing cells, with type A personalities, maybe boredom is the key?