Love yourself. I know for some people, this is not a challenge. But for others, I think it is the most difficult thing to love. Like I have said before, my memory is spotty at best for a lot of the chemo regime, especially the first weeks. Some memories are very vivid.
Like the nights leading up to me cutting my hair. Oh yes, hair at this point is symbolic more than necessary. I always thought I would shave it right away, but it can be the last visible sign that shouts to people you are seriously ill. I had put it off.
One brush through after not washing hair for a couple of days.
The height of the steroid induced “moon-face,” this is a natural side effect of steroids in high doses over a prolonged time. My cheeks were so swollen they felt tight. I would hate to say that I am vain. I don’t think that’s fair. These are major changes that ear marked a major change in my life. I hate them. Everyone of them. And sometimes that translates into hating me. I remember staring at the mirror one night just exclaiming “you are a monster! you are a monster!” I’m not telling you this because I want you to tell me that I’m not “a monster”, I’m telling you this because, at least in my case, this is what went through my mind when I was alone. I was on a lot of drugs, I could do NONE of the coping mechanisms I was used to using and I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I recently asked my therapist, “how do I stop this?” Her recommendation, “you really can’t.” In her opinion, you have to let it run it’s course, know when to ask for help but the more you try to stifle it, the more likely it is to come back. I agree. BUT don’t forget the good days! There are good days and things. Like hearing the kids come bounding up the step with great laughter, breezes, sunshine, cats- you were in less pain today, you ate a little more today….find something. And one other thing- tell yourself “I love you- Fill in your name.” Love yourself in that moment like God would. Give yourself grace. You are the only person who can do it. No one else can.
Accept what you cannot change. Change what you can- know the difference between the two. God is in the intricacies of life. That is where he works. Let Him work.
My old body and self are gone. And that my dear is OK- cuz what you have is yours . This is the body that will kiss your children good night; that will help heal the sick; that will be with your children and family in their darkest and brightest times; that will help build a loving community for God. Treat yourself the way that you would treat others (if you are a real turkey butt to other people- work on that).