Tools from the Childhood Toolbox

Cancer has been a journey unlike any I have ever experienced. At least not where I was really paying attention. Cancer was not new to me. Not really. But I find myself wondering how could I have gotten some tools from my experiences as a child.

It was so cool rolling matchbox cars over Papa’s “roadmap” on his chest. I get the act of love that was for my brother and I. We were 10 and 7. He had lung cancer. He had to be exhausted. His chest had to hurt. And yet there he was loving us. There are so many questions I use I had known at 10 to ask. What I would give for one more circle bologna sandwich.

I can close my eyes and still see her laying there. She was tired. She had nothing to give and yet she watched that movie with me. Let me pray over her. Told me thank you for spending time with her. Watching her get smaller and weaker. Seeing her one last time and she didn’t know who I was. And still there are questions I wished I had known to ask at 16. Aunt Bobbie had always been there and then she wasn’t.

Nanny just always only had one breast. She always put her “pillow” in the other side. We didn’t talk about it. We didn’t have to. Cancer didn’t take her away. But there are questions I wished I had known to ask. I would have asked how she did it. How she continued on with her life like nothing had happened? How it wasn’t something she needed to talk about? How did cancer change you? Not just take your breast, but how did it change your very core?

My mini human has been given every opportunity we could throughout this journey to have fun. To do the things she has wanted within reason. I have intentionally chosen activities, small trips, “rewards” and celebrations to insure that she didn’t lose her childhood completely to cancer.

I think those are the tools I brought from my early exposure to cancer. Spend time with those you love and have fun doing it. Everyday isn’t fun. Chemotherapy was not fun. Having to change habits to not get sick was not fun. The ways to finding out the habits needed to change were not fun. A bi-lateral mastectomy and lymph node removal was not fun. Radiation is not fun. It is a scheduling nightmare. A stress that has led to shingles. An increase in the daily pain.

Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

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Vivid Brain Space

I have spent every day of my conscious life vividly remembering memories, which are constantly being mocked, belittled or devalued. But you see the problem with that is an individual’s memories and perceptions of those memories are what shape them into the people they become. No one has the right to take them away from another individual.

            Let me explain what I mean by conscious life.  Because let’s face it, hopefully each day since your birth you have been conscious. I simply mean that there comes a time in (well again hopefully) each individual’s life where they become acutely aware of their everyday. Aware of each memory. Aware (once again hopefully) of each moment. I have been acutely aware of my vivid memories since my pre-adolescent stage of development. I did not grasp then the importance or even the significance of those vivid thoughts, memories, dreams, daydreams and recollections. I am not sure I have fully grasped them now. But I do welcome them.

           I do attempt every day to use them to better myself, to shape my mini cave-girl, to push myself farther than I have ever been, and not allow myself to fall into old traps. There are have been many days since I began this leg of my journey that I have wanted to crawl up in a corner of the closet, cover my head with a blanket and stay there. Stay there until things changed. Stay there until improvements in my life happen. But that is not how it works. We have to fight for ourselves (for often no one else will…but we have to remember they have to fight for themselves). We have to choose (sometimes multiple times a day) to make take control of our futures and turn the negative situations and experiences in our lives and make them positive.

            ImageI am reminded in those moments of weakest that I have overcome so many trials and walked through so many valleys. Losing people who are close to you breaks you in a way you did not know you could be broken. Being told without blunt words, that you are not good enough…begins to cut into you (One of the many reasons I believe passionately in being honest…even if it means being blunt).  When you allow those experiences and situations to empower you they no longer have that negative hold on your life. Remember the good moments with those gone and what the not so good moments with them taught you. Knowing for yourself that you are enough (live on your own away from everyone you know…most empowering thing you can do). I am also reminded that when those trails were occurring I made the choice to get up, pull on my big girl pants and push through. I found this image on pinterest.com, the blog is blocked so sadly I cannot give credit where it is due…however the words are of the most importance. “Don’t forget you’re human, It’s okay to have a meltdown, just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”

            How are you using your memories to move you forward into your future? Demons and angels, smiles and tears all lay and wait for us as we stroll down memory lane. But how you maneuver down that street also helps shape your future. I have to remember every day that I have walked through some intense valleys. But I am still standing. You are standing my friend. Now chin up, buttercup, and look your future in the eye, and take control. Let’s enjoy this ride.

 

Big Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                   Randi