My head is working overtime!
Hey guys! So you've either just come on for a look or you saw my post on Facebook directing you to this...my first new post in quite a while! My laptop was on the fritz and the only other person at home who has one works away all week so it's been difficult to keep up with this website. I have however rectified the situation so here we go!
Today's post is about how I've been feeling this past few weeks. Following my month of radiotherapy, I've noticed the fatigue I was warned about. It's kind of weird because I mean, I've been tired before, working and gigging like a madwoman, but this is certainly different. In the mornings I sometimes feel like I literally can't lift my head no matter how much I try. These days, after I wake up, it normally takes a wee while for me to gather myself to get up; not every day but the majority at the mo. Now I know that everyone finds it difficult to rouse themselves to get up most mornings, especially when you're working lots and some people will probably be rolling their eyes thinking that very same thing. Honestly though, this is different.
On top of that, I've been finding it difficult to sleep and what I mean is, I've been lying awake unable to get to sleep because as soon as the light goes out, my mind starts jumping around the cancer minefield like a bloody gazelle. Once it starts, I know that's me for a while tossing and turning and thinking about my diagnosis, telling my family and the reality that I actually had cancer. That word has always, as with everyone, scared the shit out of me and now it's a big part of my vocabulary which I still can't quite believe, but I'm learning to deal with and accept that as well as anyone can.
On the fatigue thing then; I've never been a lazy person. What I mean is, I like to laze about as much as the next person, but I've always been on the go and doing something! Everyone who knows me personally will know that I've always got something on, whether it be heading to work at the hospital then darting off to play gigs afterwards and at the weekends, doing things with my family, heading off to meet friends in one place or another for a festival, catch up, or to celebrate whatever is happening at that time, or just going on a trip somewhere to do something. That's always been my life and I wouldn't have it any other way :-)
At the moment though, I feel different. I don't feel like I'm back to being that person or that I'd have the energy to even try right now and I hear you say, 'Katrina, wise up, that's hardly surprising'. It is difficult for me though, that it's holding me back from getting back into everything I'm used to and at the pace I'm used to. The truth is, I've been putting a bit of pressure on myself to get back to 'normal' immediately and it hasn't been good for my mental wellbeing. As soon as I finished and even during my radiotherapy, I was thinking I should be back doing EVERYTHING right then. I mean, I've been doing things of course, had a few nights out with my buddies and been focusing some energy on fundraising and raising awareness but it's not as much as I would've been able to do previously.
On that note, I'm glad I didn't listen to myself. I've also realised that everyone is different and you have to take things at YOUR pace and not try to match someone else who's been through the same thing, that's just silly. If I'd rushed back to doing everything back then, I would've crashed. For example, work. I'm a scrub Nurse and you can be scrubbed in for a procedure for anything from half an hour to 5 hours or so. Your concentration has to be on the job to ensure patient care is at a maximum and you can't take a toilet break or head outside for a breath of air whenever you want to, like you maybe could in other professions; it's just not like that, as many of you know. Being tired has reduced my concentration so that's an important one. I'd hate to commit to something and then feel like I was letting people down when I couldn't follow through with it. Then there's the music along with that; it's a busy life which I plan on getting back to soon but have to be sensible about it!
I was told by a few people at an Action Cancer Peer Mentoring Support Group that they'd never heard anyone say that they'd gone back to work etc too late, only too early. I haven't felt physically or mentally ready to go back and I make no excuses for that as the main person here is me, and believe me, I don't often say that! The fatigue is the main thing holding me back and I'm jut trying to get to grips with that before I get back to things full pelt!
I didn't actually come on here to discuss all that but it came out so there you have it. It all links in anyways! I wanted to talk about how I've been feeling this past couple of weeks and how it's been affecting life. I've had bouts since my diagnosis where I've found it difficult to sleep. This, of course, is not surprising. Things seem to come in waves and I've started to worry again about whether or not the cancer is definitely gone and about it coming back. Now that's not to say that I've been getting down in the mouth and stressing myself out beyond measure, but it's creeped back in. It made me realise that for a little while there, I hadn't been worrying about it. I also know that it's normal to feel this way and I'm ok with that. I'm a strong willed and positive person and know that I can overcome such things. I do, however, let myself feel the negative as well as the positive because all feelings need to be accepted, understood and processed in whatever way is necessary.
We're all very good at brushing off negative thoughts and feelings and I'm telling you, no good can come from this. You need to let yourself feel whatever you need to feel, simple as that; I've said it before and I'll keep saying it! My point is, whenever it hits me with a bump, as it tends to sometimes - that I had cancer and that the tablets I'm taking every day are to reduce the risk of it coming back - I let it hit me. I don't ignore it and stifle the tears, pushing it all back in. I think about it for a little while because I need to. I need to feel the reality of it so that I can accept that this is what has been happening for real, that I'm still here and that I plan to be for a long time yet. I know too well that if I put on a brave face, push it all to one side and ignore it, all would erupt at a later stage and I'd be the worse off for it. And when I say, put a brave face on it, I mean to myself.
The sleep thing can be helped. I wouldn't be popping pills for this so here's the plan to help with that and to help get my mojo back! It's all things I had been doing before but have since lost a bit of motivation for. So! These are a few simple things I'm getting back to :-)
1. Get out for some fresh air every day (I live by the beach so that's a no brainer)
2. Eat well
3. Drink plenty of water (this helps with all systems of the body, concentration and should help with the headaches)
4. Reduce the use of my iPad/laptop before bed and read my book (an amazing biography of Frank Sinatra!) instead.
5. Get back to yoga and do some meditation. I've found it works wonders for me and I love it, so that's a MUST.
So that's it folks, a little update on the past couple of weeks and how I'm dealing with it. I'm also hoping that getting this all out of my head onto the page will help me sleep a bit better, fingers crossed! That's not to say that all time has been consumed like that because it hasn't. Lots of lovely things have been happening and I'm as grateful and positive as ever, that NEVER disappears :-) I've also got LOTS of news regarding the fundraisers I'm organising and will put that all up in a separate post so please read and come on down if you're free!
Positive vibes from me to you as ever!!