I have not led a charmed life. I say this without complaint or disappointment.
Like you, I’ve experienced challenges, suffering and setbacks – along with happiness, joy and love. Whether it’s been layoffs, divorce, illness or the death of loved ones; the way I manage such things is to stop, regroup, then bounce back –more determined than ever to succeed. And I have done just that. I am a very resilient woman.
How long I pause depends on the depth of my challenge. When both my parents died within six weeks of each other, it was a year before my heart began to heal.
When I was diagnosed with long term Lyme disease, it was six months of grappling with the reality of a having a chronic illness until I began to embrace my situation and thrive. Just when I regained my footing and was beginning to soar, cancer came to call.
That brought me to a screeching halt, but it was the treatment that frightened me, not the disease. Call me crazy, but I didn’t fear dying from cancer – I feared permanent damage from the trifecta of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. So, I found my resilience by embracing the Divine within and using my intention and thoughts to focus solely on powerful, safe healing.
Which served me beautifully- right up to the moment I went off the rails.
It was surgery that started this derailing. I came through it successfully but awoke with total numbness in both my legs. I was surprised but since my immediate focus was healing my incisions I paid little attention to it. As the surgical trauma healed, I noticed the numbness persisted. After I ruled out all other sources — including back issues, diabetes and autoimmune disease — I wondered if my Lyme disease was recurring.
I tried taking antibiotics for the Lyme because in the past, they would provide nearly immediate relief from numbness. Not so this time. The numbness persisted.
Fast forward thirty days, just prior to starting radiation and the numbness had spread to both my hands making them painful, stiff and numb. Days into radiation, it traveled into both my arms. By the end of my six week treatment most of my body was severely affected.
You know how it feels when your foot falls asleep and then wakes up? That painful stabbing numbness and tingling? That has been my daily reality since May. It is painful to walk, write, climb stairs, open jars or any number of simple daily tasks.
Caught in this nightmare of physical discomfort I could feel my hope fading. My cancer is cured but I am crippled with the worst pain I have ever experienced.
“How did this happen? Where is my relief? When is enough enough?” I screamed at God.
It is hard to hold on to getting better when every day is a struggle and even though you think you can’t feel worse, some days you do. I felt like my life was hurtling into an abyss. Since there was no way to stop it, I gave up, gave in and surrendered. Not in the powerful spiritual “give it all to God” way but the “nothing is making a difference and I can barely cope” way. And there I stayed, for a long, long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I had moments of hope but they were fleeting. I felt buried under the unacceptable nature of the situation, the nonstop, no relief constant struggle of it all. I could not hold the vision of a full recovery and it crushed my spirit.
I withdrew from family and friends and spent my time going from doctor to doctor looking for answers that did not materialize. Everyone’s best guess? Lyme disease amplified intensely by radiation.
My shift began after my sister — a talented healer — arrived and worked on me twice a day for three days. Suddenly, I could feel part of my left hand and arm and the pain in my thighs started to retreat. This demonstrated to me that I could heal; that I am not permanently disabled and I can recover from this nightmare!
Experiencing physical improvement was more rejuvenating than any expert diagnosis or pill I could swallow. I needed to feel something hopeful to rekindle my faith in the infinite healing power we all posses. I was ready to fiercely focus on full recovery again.
It has been almost a month now and although I still have pain, it is lessening. What is most important is the knowledge that I am returning to full health. As for lessons learned, that is for another post.
For now, my resilience has kicked in and I know I will bounce back better than ever. After that, anything is possible!