As I was saying in last week’s blog, I think over the past few months the realisation of what has happened to me has finally kicked in. While I was going through my treatment every single bit of energy I had was going in to keeping my focus on getting the treatment completed, getting out of hospital, and getting healthy again. That’s it, just get in, get it done get out, and get my health back. I don’t think I ever actually had time to process what the h*ll was going on or why I was even in there in the first place, and I certainly tried my best to avoid the obvious question of WHY ME!!?? (Trying my best to refrain from using bad language right about now…)
I was “evaluated” in hospital while going through treatment to make sure I was “ok” mentally, and they were very impressed with me, they said how amazing I was doing, how focused I was, and how my thoughts and plans were very healthy, but it couldn’t be that easy!
Between some treatments the first year my girlfriend and I had the odd dinner out, nights away, date nights and so on. When I relapsed we also had one or two nights away before my transplant. When I think about that now I think how on earth did we do that, how were we able to!? With all that was going on how could we just try to do normal things, how.
I guess it was bound to catch up with me sometime? Well it has, I’ve finally realised what has happened to me, the severity of what happened, and how lucky I am to be alive today. My happiness and mental health has very much been tested over recent months and I have been finding it very very tough. I say over recent months but I have been dealing with this since June 2015 so it’s been longer than a few months, but I guess the realisation of what has happened has certainly kicked in now. I think that because I’m getting fitter and more healthy now that perhaps I’m starting to let go and that’s why it has knocked me down a bit.
So how do I look after myself while I try to get back on track…
Looking after myself
Considering the battle I have had on my hands over the last couple of years, it has definitely taken it’s toll on my body, both mentally and physically. I would definitely consider myself as a more pro-active minded person so once able, I made my plan of how I was going to get myself back on track, on a physical and mental level.
Counselling was more or less the first step I took. Mental health is no joke, and after being hit hard twice with cancer, everything it put me through, I would have been an absolute fool not to have gone to talk to someone about it. I have absolutely no problem with admitting that I attend counselling sessions to talk through what happened, someone to talk it out with, someone to let my anger out with, someone to discuss the hurt and upset it has all caused me with.
I feel that perhaps a good few years ago we weren’t too good at being open about mental health issues, but now it’s much more prevalent to hear and read about mental health in our society. I nearly feel a bit proud to be able to say that I am not okay and that at least I am doing something about it and ensuring that I am tying to look after myself. I would definitely encourage others to do the same if they feel the need to.
It absolutely is okay to not be okay, how can we always be okay, we can’t. What’s not okay is to ignore it when things aren’t going well. I have an expression and I call it “Ireland’s I’m grand syndrome”, we love to say we’re grand. I think we say it when we are grand, but also when we are not, it’s our country’s saying, we’re known for it, and it’s a grand saying, but we are so accustomed to using it that maybe sometimes we forget that we say it when maybe it’s not actually the case.
One thing that has absolutely changed about me since my battle with cancer is that if someone asks me how I’m doing and I’m not doing okay, I straight out tell them I’m not doing okay and I tell them why. Instead of saying I’m grand, I get it off my chest, why would I say I’m grand when I’m not. I’m not saying that it works in all scenarios, but I do find it is great to get it out there when you need to, when you feel you can, I find it helps get things off my chest, off my shoulders, and then you can maybe feel bit better about it. The other person might not have a lot to say about it, might have a lot to say about it, but either way I find it helps.
I have also found more often than not that opening up to others about the really awful stuff I’ve had to deal with has made that person feel more open to talking to me about their troubles, troubles that I would not have known about or expected to hear! I have found out about a lot of problems that people close or not even close to me have been going through that I never would have known about, and they’ve opened up to me after me opening up to them. I definitely have to say that you really never know what’s going on behind closed doors, so I definitely feel that opening up to others can help you and in cases help them too.
It’s an obvious one or me, after a few years of being mostly either bed bound or couch bound, my body hasn’t been looked after the way it should have been, especially considering the long periods of inactivity. Now that I’m able and back exercising, I am visiting my physiotherapist regularly. It is helping with my mobility, my range of motion, my strength, and to ease any muscle stiffness and pains I have as well as a host of other things. It is definitely helping me on my return to running and just day to day movement.
Ahhhhhh a massage, an hour of bliss, you just can’t beat going for a full body massage, it helps me relax, it helps get rid of those knots and helps me to de-stress, and it definitely helps to relieve my anxiety. I feel so much better for it afterwards, I couldn’t recommend one more. I actually try to get one once a month now, at least for this year anyway, and as I say to my girlfriend…”Ya gotta treat yourself”. Life is definitely too short, so enjoy it!
So that’s it, get active, get a massage, get talking, open up to people because you never know how much it might help you, or that person! Meet a friend for a cuppa, make that effort, don’t leave it tomorrow because you just never know…
#DCM2018 #NEVERGIVEUP #FIGHTINGBACKFROMCANCER