Friday, October 8, 2010

Tug of war

I have been thinking about blogging about this for a while now.

Many things have happened recently that have made me want to put fingers to the keyboard.  If you are a constant reader of this blog then you know a good friend of mine passed away from cancer recently.  It has been hard to say the least.  Add to that the mountain of debt that keeps getting larger, chemo brain, which frustrates the shit out of me, I don't knowing what I want to say but not having my brain fire synapses correctly, neuropathy, having to take x amount of pills at so and so times, etc, etc, etc.

Some days I feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill.

My mind is alway working constantly, either thinking about work, or advocacy, or how I can help someone out, hockey, whatever,  it doesn't shut off.  You could look at me and see me sitting calmly at work at the computer or talking on the air, my brain is constantly thinking, (yeah I know I just said I have chemo brain, comes and goes, like the mogwai in the movie Gremlins, don't get it wet, don't feed it after midnight, if only it was that easy to predict when it would kick in)

I battle constantly with this, all rolling around in my head like many tornadoes.  Its frustrating.  No wonder I don't know how to relax.

Yeah you read that right.  I don't know how to relax

I can sit still but I can't relax.  I can't really sleep either  I can't sleep unless I am medicated, I have a mouthguard in at night so I don't grind the shit out of my teeth. 

You know when people get a massage they get all relaxed and go to that happy place, maybe even fall asleep, I don't.   I used to, but I don't know what happened.  I have gotten some great massages here, and they have worked out knots and tension in my muscles.  But I can't relax during the massage.  I don't know why.

I did the reeling and healing midwest program for cancer survivors, a 2 day fly fishing retreat close to where I live.  I know you are thinking what the hell does fly fishing have to do with cancer.  Well let me tell you.  It does help you relax, standing in the water there, with your guide, and nature.  I figured out how to relax.

Unfortunately I can't take the stream and all of nature with me all the time.  Yes the program is totally awesome, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat,and it helped me, but not being able to relax is something I am trying to overcome.

I found a brochure for a pilates program that a local studio was putting on.  It was for breast cancer survivors, designed by a survivor.  It was free, I called, they had to wait for enough participants before they could start the class.

So a few weeks later there I was in class with 3 other survivors, all at various stages of survivorship,all of us were well past surgery.  

We were all there not knowing what to expect.

It was an eight week mat class, doing various exercises to strengthen the core and the muscles around where women would have had mastectomies, lumpectomies and lymph node removal.

Now I wouldn't have thought that something that may look like to the average person, a bunch of simple stretches would have any kind of impact on me, except for maybe getting a little toned.

But it did. 

I have written before about my constant struggle with depression, yes I am on meds, but sometimes the mind can over come the meds, a tug of war in my head, dealing with the many mini tornadoes in my head and just survivorship of everyday. 

I do maintain a positive mental attitude

But some days are harder than others.

Doing the pink ribbon pilates program with the other survivors helped me to find my comfort zone within my self.  Lets face it having cancer  and survivorship takes you completely way out of your comfort zone.

But with pilates it has forced me back in.

And helped me to relax...

A little more than before.

That is something I still need to work on, but I am slowly chipping away at that stone.

I found this quote and I will leave you with it:

Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul.
Ezra Taft Benson

 Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show.  Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-Noon eastern on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on available on demand now and also available on itunes.


  1. Hi Mel,
    I'm right there with you, girl! Sounds like we're both anal teutonic. I look like I'm relaxed, but my mind is always working. I've tried hypnosis. While it works, I have to go to great lengths, like counting backwards from some number like 759, 5 numbers, then 3 numbers & alternating backwards from 5 to 3, until I'm in the zone so the hypnosis can do it's thing.

    It hasn't helped that last week I was stalked for 12 miles, at high speeds, down a dark, deserted & twisty country road. I knew a dead end was approaching, so I made a left turn & blasted through a rock wall, doing about 50. The freak followed me for a while there, too. He works at the local Emergency Room!! Comforting!

    Tomorrow I'm working out, then getting a massage, followed by a session of guided imagery. Haven't done Pilates, but have a DVD. Must get mat out!

    Sleep well, my friend, or at least try!

  2. Ironic Mel! I just updated my blog earlier, then started getting caught up on my blog reading, and came across this article on your blog. I just finished writing about not being able to sleep and how the sleeping med I take is no longer available and having to switch. About the mind, yeah, I also have all the aforementioned, chemo brain, CIPN, etc. and still the mind works overtime 24/7 unless medicated to sleep. So tonight when I take a drink with my sleep meds, It shall be a toast to a good nights sleep to all afflicted with this nasty crap! CHEERS!