On Waiting For What Is Next

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“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next."

- Gilda Radner

Today, September 25th marks one month post treatment. One month of slowly healing the physical, mental and emotional wounds of the past six months. 

Both my radiation burns, the one in my groin and the one on my left butt cheek (I didn't know I was going to get that one) are almost nothing more then a faint outline and a patch of dry skin. I remember starring at my naked body in the mirror wondering if those burns would leave scars. It's nice to know they probably won't. Physical ones that is. 

I've started moving my body, slowly finding my way back into my physical sense of self. However, even that looks different. My body looks different. It feels different and I'm trying to work with those changes the best I know how.

Limited range of motion on my left side, random nerve surges down my leg, a strange tingling sensation in my groin, a slight limp, extra weight, scramble egg brains, lethargy, massively swollen boobs 24/7, which I imagine are hormonal changes triggered from frying my reproductive organs. All new enough to make me feel as if I'm living in a different body. 

I laugh now at the memory of talking with my mom three weeks into treatment. "Mom!" I say in my most dramatic voice. " I swear, I can literally feel my left ovary dying." It's funny now though, because I really do feel them dying. I feel them taking their last long, slow, deliberate breathe  and I feel this longing for just six months ago when my periods were like clock work and the womanly feeling I had each month at the sight of Aunt Flow. 

Now what? What do I do now? 

When most women spend so much of their time desperate to rid their lives of her, I'm desperate for just a few more months or years with her.  

I can't help but picture my left ovary as a puffed up burnt marshmallow dripping off a stick over the hot flames of a backyard fire pit. All from five weeks of a few minutes each day on a cold, sterile table in the basement of a hospital. 

How is it that I have to lose so much from something I never asked for? For something I had absolutely no control over? And then I hate that I just said that because I still have so much to be thankful for. 

All in all, changes are happening and it's safe to say I am not the same person I was only a few short months ago. I do believe, it's even safe to say, I am not even the same person as I was yesterday. 

And now I find myself in waiting. Waiting to see what happens next. How do you anticipate the future when there is so much riding on past events? I guess that is why you live in the moment.

I worry though. 

I worry with each passing day that there is a monster still lurking inside me, breeding, hunting, stealing from me, desperate to latch on and feed off every part until I no longer can breathe, suffocated by it's mere existence, and then, just like that, I'm gone. 

That is what keeps me up at night. That and the night sweats and vivid dreams and thoughts of how God chooses. You live, you die, you get to have children and you don't.

Then there is the sheer panic of not knowing how to exist in a world that doesn't really want to know how you are truly doing. A world that wants your diluted pleasantries instead of your God honest truth. 

"How are you doing?" They ask. 

"I'm great! I'm feeling more and more like my old self every day." I say with a fake smile. When what I really want to say is that I'm okay. I'm taking it day by day, moment by moment and coping the best as I know how. But sometimes I spin out of control and wonder where the last six months went. I wonder how I move forward relating to a world that has no fucking idea what I just stepped in. How do I smile and cheer on one more women who tells me they are pregnant and suck back the sobs when I see the reminder of what I will never have as they rest their hands on their swollen belly.

It's funny how bad you want something when you are no longer able to have it.  

So now I find myself in this place of ambiguity, both longing to close off from the world and needing to be seen. To hide away for just a short while longer as I sift through the dust and debris of this messy matter and tend to my heart. Yet, I long to be given new opportunities and people and to spread my wings and grow so wide that the world can't stuff me away into a little box labeled cancer or survivor or menopause or woman. 

I balance my worry and anxiety with meditation and writing, yoga and New Moon Circles and it helps. 

I've asked the world to bring me new people and situations aligned with where I want to go, with my goals and dreams, and it has. It's funny what happens when you set out with a fierce determination and deep clarity. I will not let this experience ruin me. I will do something great for the world with it. 

And then I spend my time with those in my life that I already value so much. I'm slowing down, just a tad, to give myself more to others. To be their shoulder to cry on, their comfort and support in their own turbulent times because one thing I've learned is that life isn't easy for anyone and everyone is doing the best they can. 

So now I wait. I do all this and I wait for what is next and I do my best to live my life and to figure out who I am after all of this. 

Then the call comes from my oncologist who was revisiting the tissue from the slides they created from the tumor they removed and he tells me I have to go in for another procedure to rule out bladder cancer and I laugh and say, "that sounds like fun."  And he nudges again about a hysterectomy and more searching for this monster. 

So I'm really not done yet. It's as if life is laughing at me and says, "buckle up Amanda...it's about to get bumpier."  

And I just sit here waiting telling everyone that I feel more and more like my old self and I feel like a big lier. 

Do You Affirm? The Power of Affirmations and How to Do Them

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To be honest, the first time I really heard of affirmations or the power of the mind and law of attraction was when the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne came out in 2006. I think my dad bought the book for me and I half ass read it. Back then I didn't have the belief in myself that I could make the changes necessary to really put the words into action in my own life. In the years to come I heard of affirmations here and there but again, wasn't ready to really put forth the effort to use them properly or at all even. Then I read the book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. In her book Loise talks about how turning negative thoughts into positive ones can begin to heal your body and your life and attract the things that your heart desires. It's that simple.

Doing affirmations is a way of subtly shifting your thinking from one direction to the opposite, typically negative to positive. It's a powerful tool because most of the time we are unaware that our thoughts are affecting our life in such a significant way and this allows us to change ourselves and thus change our lives.

Affirmations define our focus. What we think is what we believe and what we believe is what we attract into our lives. Some say this is coincidence but I truly believe in the power of the mind and metaphysics. "I think therefore I am" is a well known quote with a very deep and transcendent meaning.

We do have the power to radically change our lives. There are countless stories out there of people going from the deep end to living a beautiful, happy and fulfilled life for of joy, love and total acceptance.

So why are affirmations so powerful?

Think about this; we have thousands of thoughts going through our mind every single day. They often come and go before we know it and most of the time they are so habitual we don't even realize what they are. Good or Bad.

So many of our beliefs about ourselves are buried deep in our subconscious mind from years and years of experiences that help shape how we view ourselves and the world. If you grew up in a lovely, positive home and have lovely positive experiences  you may be way ahead of the game here, believing deeply in yourself and your abilities. However, if the opposite is true then chances are you have limiting beliefs that have shaped your experience of the world and your belief in yourself.

An example of this is from my own personal experience.  I had two parents who loved me but often our home was volatile and had a vibrational energy that kept us all on edge. I love my dad very much and understand now that he did the best he could given his own experiences but he was unpredictable which left me lacking the ability to trust and feel safe. Because of this I developed very limiting beliefs in others and myself and always held people at arms length. Until recently, I realized I had a hard time developing deep and meaningful relationships because I couldn't trust and I was scared they would hurt me and I would remain very detached. This, however, no longer serves me. I want relationships that are free and deep and filled with love and joy and a connection that is powerful and real.

So, I've been working on affirming that I trust in all and am open to knowing them deeply.

I will admit, it's been 30+ years of me thinking a certain way and sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's hard turning a negative thought into a positive one because I still, at times, find comfort in the old. However, I truly believe that it no longer serves who I really am and who I aspire to grow into and I persevere.

I've noticed my connection grow with those already in my life and those that are just entering it. I'm more open and vulnerable. It's subtle but profound in many ways. When I feel that familiar fear start to creep back in I simply say to myself: "I trust all and am open to knowing them deeply."

So how did I get to this point?

Have you ever tracked your thoughts?

This is a fascinating tool to begin seeing how you actually view yourself and the world. At some point in my life I started to see that I viewed the world and myself very negatively which I now know is because of my inability to trust and my unpredictable early years. However, I no longer want to be a victim of those circumstances and started to pay more attention to my thought process. What I saw made me sad because I knew at the core of my being that I wasn't those thoughts and eventually I just couldn't take it anymore. Something had to change and I knew it was me.

So, I began to turn my thoughts around. If I found myself saying to myself, 'why would they like me?' I'd turn it around and say 'they are a really interesting person and I want to dive deeper into getting to know who they are.' I make it exciting instead of scary.

How You Can Change Your Thought Patterns?

Start to pay attention to what you think. Begin bringing some awareness throughout the day as things happen and see what thought pops up. Try not to be judgmental or hard on yourself. Your thoughts are hardwired into your subconscious and it will take some time to rewire. I have to work on it every single day.

Begin to flip the thought on it's head. For example, if it's something like, "I have to lose 10 pounds," say "I love and accept myself the way I am." You may need to lose 10 pounds to be healthier but losing the weight isn't going to make you like yourself, those negative thoughts are still there until we begin to see more positively.

Another example is, "I am always broke and live paycheck to paycheck," which could become, "I have everything I need and am open to financial security."

Here are a few others that I love:

I am open and free and love all of life

I trust that I am exactly where I need to be

I am successful in whatever I do

I celebrate my individuality

I'm creative in my own unique way

Practice makes perfect. Doing this regularly will begin to reshape how you view yourself and others and will affect the things that come into your life.

Trust me, just try it and see.

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Okay, your turn! Do you affirm? Share one of your affirmations below in the comments for all to share and use!

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