In a bit of a recycle of information, I ran across a post I wrote in 2018. Four years ago. I wrote it thinking about the woman I would like to be in my “older” age, like 80s and 90s. It was a list of things I would quit doing to make my life more intentionally reflect who I want to be.
Now, in 2022, living with a diagnosis that is expected to be terminal, I can see direct ways that making these choices earlier in my life has set the stage for me to be able to live every day fully, even with an inoperable cancer.
Now, in 2022 and constantly itching as a side effect of life-giving immunotherapy drugs, frequently waiting for medical professionals who are late, and with much less energy to do most things I used to enjoy, I am glad I have made it a conscious choice to replace complaining with giving thanks.
I am thankful that I have a comfortable home in the country that I enjoy a lot. I am thankful that I have a loving husband who never complains about having to care for me. I’m thankful that I have excellent medical insurance that allows me to receive treatment without financial stress.
I am thankful for my family who has risen to the occasion and who each show me love in their unique ways. I’m thankful for a caring community of friends who express care and concern for me.
Early on, we had great frustration with the lack of communication from one doctor in particular. I decided he was important to my medical team and chose to talk with him about my need for more communication instead of complaining about him.
I have not had a care coordinator to help sift through all of the information thrown at me/us. That would have been so helpful and was frustrating to have to figure out who to ask and when to be assertive and how to find answers.
My daughter and I were able to have a meeting with the head of the cancer clinic to tell him our experience. One of my doctors had assured him I was not wanting to complain, but that we had a perspective that would be helpful.
Generally, I think that the doctors, nurses, assistants, phlebotomists, and technicians do not dread me coming in because they do not expect that I will be complaining.
If I were comparing myself in the present to myself even nine months ago, I would be struggling to stay positive. I can no longer walk two miles daily. I cannot spend an hour, three times a week, working out. I weigh less but have lost tone so my body is a different shape. No traveling to Mexico or even Phoenix at this point.
I have known people who have wondered, “Why me?” I’ve known people (women in particular, I think) who resent others’ successful pregnancies or happy marriages or well behaved children. It is better to not compare but to accept my present circumstances and to see how I can make the most of what I have.
This morning is a good one. I have energy and have checked things off my list that I have wanted to do. I baked a loaf of gluten free bread, cleaned and refilled our hummingbird feeders, mixed up a sterilizing solution for my nephrostomy tube bag, and am writing this post for Sixty and Me.
My challenge now is to be patient with what I’d like to do but am unable. Now, I find that living with purpose and intention looks different than when I had too many options, but the practice has prepared me for now.
This is about determining what is important to me. I have been challenged to be okay with being the opposite of this. I have not invited, scheduled, or volunteered for much of anything in the past eight months because I was not able.
By learning to recognize what is important to me, I have been able to be comfortable hibernating a bit for my own health and sanity. I waited eight months before I was public about having cancer because it was what I wanted and what was good for me.
We have the option of continuing on with personal growth as long as we have breath.
These behaviors that I am quitting are just simple ways that get me to who I want to keep becoming. I will keep moving towards being the Woman I Want to Be in my ThirdThird!
I am proving that what I said in 2018 is true! I’m still learning and growing. I want to be a woman who oozes grace and truth and who is an encouragement, even when I need to be cared for. I’m so grateful that long ago (even before 2018), I defined who I wanted to become, who I would be when I was “old.” Now, I see the benefit for when I am sick, as well.
What do you need to quit? Which kind of Old Woman do you want to be? How are you investing in your own personal growth?