Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's All in How you Look At it

What do you see here? Is it something dead, or is it something which is looking to the future and will give life? Is it a weed, or is it a plant which provides food for monarch butterflies and nesting material and food for birds such as the goldfinch? It's all in how you look at it.
Looking at things in perhaps a different way made my getting through cancer treatment a little bit easier. I focused on things which might help. Of course, this is not to say I didn't waver, I didn't have times which were full of tears. I did. When I was diagnosed with stage four cancer with bone mets in my pelvis after thinking I only had microcalcifications in my breast, I cried buckets....
However, I still think that my general outlook made things easier to bear. One of the things I did was I looked at cancer and the treatment as a new adventure. In stead of crying about losing my hair, I wondered what I would look like without hair. I thought "Hey, I'd never be bald voluntarily, this will be a new experience!" I also have to say it was wonderful to get out of the shower and not have to dry my hair...and I never had a hair out of place! In addition, I didn't have to shave my legs for a while! Sheer bliss!
When I was having chemo and was vomiting a lot, I kept on saying to myself, "the sicker I am, the more cancer it is killing." I also kept on counting down. One done, I'm on my way. Two down, only four more to go. Somehow, this mental belt notching really made life easier....or at least I fooled myself into thinking so. And if it was merely me fooling myself, who cares?
I used my case I thought of catfish prowling through my blood stream eating up cancer cells. Going to my pelvis and cleaning the area where the cancer was. The imagery was my cute little Aeneas catfish from my fish tank who are always busily looking for scraps and bits to eat.
I don't mean to sound like a Pollyanna, but I have to say it helped me a lot. I also think it helped those around me to had to watch me struggle through all of this. So...while it may not be an adventure that you WANTED to go on, maybe looking at it in this way will help you get through it as well.
If you didn't recognize the plant, it is the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). I don't usually pull it all out of my garden because I do want to provide host materials for monarchs....and the sweetly scented, dusty mauve blooms don't hurt either. It is also interesting to note that Linaeus named it Asclepias after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing because folk traditions ascribe so many healing properties to it....including wart removal!

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