Acceptance

Acceptance - live in today

Today’s post will focus on acceptance and the role it plays in recovery. I have been having a rough couple of weeks and my work lies in acceptance. I have let myself go down the path of sadness and frustration and those emotions have swallowed me whole. Those of you who know me know that I sleep a lot. I am in bed early and up early. I function best on 8+ hours of sleep each night. Even pre-cancer, sleep deprivation made me grumpy and impacted my emotions and stress my level. Fast forward to now…both the chemo itself and the Lupron shot I am on, which will hopefully preserve my fertility, are causing hot flashes. My body is going through a manufactured state of menopause.  The lack of sleep is making it difficult for me to manage my stress level and my emotional bandwidth is non-existent. I feel like I am constantly crying and I can’t manage my emotions as well as I could pre-cancer. The emotions can feel so strong that I get lost in the emotional world and it’s hard to pull myself out. Logic loses the battle time and time again. You may be wondering, what am I going to do. Yes, I have a right to feel this way. Cancer sucks, and I deserve to wallow in self pity and cry for as long as I want, but the question is do I want to dwell in the pain and sadness and frustration forever? The answer is no. I am not happy dwelling in pain and sadness, but how do I move forward? Everywhere I turn, the answer seems to be acceptance. In order to move on, I have to accept where I am right now. My therapist suggested I think of the situation as quicksand, the more I fight it the harder it is to break free. If I just lay back and accept the reality of my current situation, the easier it will be to get out of the quicksand and improve my state of mind.

A difficult part of the acceptance process for me has been adjusting my expectations. I have always had high expectations for myself, which many times are unrealistic. I set myself up for disappointment and frustration with these expectations. Throughout the cancer process thus far, I have had to lower my expectations to match my abilities as my health declines with each treatment. After this second round of chemo, which hit me harder, I have had to adjust my expectations yet again. It is disappointing to have to continually adjust and accept my limitations. The types of situations and emotional challenges I could handle with ease a month ago, have become more difficult. A month ago, a sad song on the radio or a disagreement with my husband over what to have for dinner could be handled calmly. Now those same situations are resulting in meltdowns and way too many tears. Accepting this reality will be a continuous challenge for me but I am willing to put in the work.

With all this in mind and the tools from our therapists, I will focus on the following goals for the coming weeks. Hopefully these adjustments in my perspective will bring me more happiness.

  1. Allow myself a designated “pity party” time and place each day
  2. Adjust my expectations to match my current abilities, accepting that this may have to be done after each chemo session.
  3. Remind myself that this too shall pass and my limitations are temporary
  4. Remember my priorities!!! Get through chemo and heal my body physically and emotionally
    • Everything else I may be stressing about can be prioritized after I beat this cancer and heal my body. As a good friend said to me, I have plenty of time to be skinny after cancer. I need to prioritize what really matters right now.
  5. Complete one act of art per week. I love creating artwork, but I never seem to make time for it.
  6. Move by body as much as possible (biking, walking, stretching, yoga, etc)

I’d love to hear what tools you find especially helpful during difficult times. Maybe it’s a song, a special meal or meditation.

I hope my work with acceptance and the tools I have shared can help you focus on acceptance in your life. As always, thank you for your love, support and encouragement throughout my journey. I hope my struggle and my growth can inspire others around me.

With the encouragement from Kayla, the Executive Producer of Vinicble: a documentary about young adults battling cancer, I am going to start creating video diaries to include in some of my posts. Bare with me, this is my first attempt. The video quality is bad and I was super nervous.

 

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7 comments

  1. margarite crollman says:

    What helps me deal during difficult times is a walk or a ride somewhere new, to absorb the beauty before my eyes and let my mind clear. If my mind can clear for just even a moment, then I have accomplished a great task that will help with the difficult ones. xoxox

  2. Aunt Patti says:

    I am proud of you for working on your emotional health and your relationship while you are also dealing with healing your body. Your video update is as inspiring as your written words. No doubt you are inspiring others with your reflections, your honesty, and your journey. Goal setting is a great idea. No matter what goal(s) you set, that process provides a focus and purpose for each day (or morning, hour, whatever portion of time you designate). I am a deadline person so it helps me to get more accomplished if I set a deadline for myself and then celebrate when I meet it. In my new world of work, I am not driven by other people’s deadlines as much as I am driven by my own deadlines and commitments to others. I find this is hard for me! So, I am trying a new strategy this week. I am setting a timer for myself to get a project completed and then treating myself to a walk in the neighborhood or on the beach, reading a couple of chapters of a raunchy book, watching a TV show I have on our DVR, or calling a friend. I hope it works and I can manage my time better. I spend a fair amount of time worrying about getting it all done instead of just sitting down and GETTING it done. That has been my M.O for most of my adult life.
    My strategy for dealing with a difficult time is to wallow in it a bit and then to get busy. I clean out closets, throw out stuff I haven’t seen or touched in awhile, clean a room or area I have been neglecting for awhile, weed the gardens, etc. I will spend a whole day doing this and the family knows to just leave me alone because I am working through something. When they hear I have a “pile” for CHKD to pick up, they will ask, “What’s going on, Mom?” A visit to the beach also clears my head. Sometimes I just drive there and stand at the edge to feel the breeze, hear the water rolling in, touch the sand’s warmth, and enjoy God’s great gift. I hope we always live close enough to the water that I can enjoy it’s beauty and calming powers.

    I love you, Anna.
    Aunt Patti

    • Anna says:

      I love your strategies Patti. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight. Cleaning and organizing always makes me feel better today. Something about purging the old and starting fresh brings perspective. Love you!

  3. Mac says:

    When you’re in the middle of a meltdown, there’s no amount of logic or acronym that can help you out of it… I know, I’m usually the one trying to help you out of it haha. I’ve tried logic puzzles, compare&contrast, negating and trivializing the thing that’s bothering you (so we can get on the same team against the thing that’s stressing you out – this one doesn’t usually work well), offering solutions and reasons you shouldn’t worry about it, or even suggesting something you should be stressed about that you’ve already resolved ahead of time. None of that works – sometimes the importance of which side to have with dinner cannot be overcome.

    The best approach that I’ve found is to ask what’s important right now, and when should the “stress event” be important.

    Prioritize what needs to be important right now, and what can be important later.

    I love you so much hunny.

    The Hub’s

  4. Joe says:

    “God gives me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    I haven’t been to church in a really long time but I’m going this weekend and we will say a prayer for you.

    Staying positive is so crucial to your mental health and with your family’s support, amazing friends, and outstanding husband you have the right people and environment to get through this.

    Stay Strong – Joe

    Any negative thoughts ASAP (Always Stay Absolutely Positive) them. Never been great at mnemonic devices, but maybe it will work for you.

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