Beats keeping me alive

Listening to: Kaskade

Got some not so awesome news from my Neuro-oncologist yesterday. I’m going to start additional chemo treatment and radiation again soon. I was obviously upset, but shit happens. I just need to keep fighting. I’m going to be selfish, and do what makes me happy.

I’m also going to have to shave my head again, the chemotherapy will make my hair fall out, but I rocked a bald head before and I sure as hell can do it again.

I’m going to turn my speakers up as high as my cancerous brain can
handle, and take this all head on.

I am going to do this, again. Balding head held high, fists ready, bass pulsing through me…I am going to kick this cancer’s sorry ass.

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Ink: “Dance in the rain”

Listening to: Paramore

 It’s been some time since I’ve felt the frustration, emotional hurt and overwhelming heaviness that accompany failure. Of course I’ve failed exams and been disappointed in myself in the past, but since I was diagnosed with this cancer I changed my way of thinking to believe in “dancing in the rain” or simply making the best out of a not-so-great situation.

Today, despite the fact that I have “Dance in the rain” tattooed on my collarbone, I ironically felt as if I was drowning in that rain. Why? Well, I failed at the basic dance class that I took after a four-year hiatus. I mentally prepared myself for what was to come, giving myself a pep talk along the lines of, “Just try your best! What other ballerina is fighting brain cancer? ”. Physically, I made sure I stretched my old and achy body long before I went to class knowing that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the young and agile bodies around me. However,  bout five minutes into the class I quickly learned that I didn’t prep as much as I  thought.

Given verbal direction and counts of simple ballet movements somehow got jumbled and lost in the crater in my brain where the tumor once lay. While the other girls swiftly moved in synchronized movements across the floor, my mind was a flurry of verbal processing, all while my body attempted to keep its balance and decipher what my brain was trying to tell it. Frustration kicked in, and I felt myself burn with hurt and embarrassment. Why couldn’t I do these simple things? I made it onto varsity dance team my senior year, and I was physically able to go on runs, so I was utterly confused with what was going on.

After fighting back my tears and enduring the grueling hour of humiliation, I made it back to my car and cried with a heavy heart cursing cancer and what it had done to me. Dance was always my safe haven and outlet during my pre-psychologist seeing days, and I just wanted to be able to tap into that again.

As I write this I still am contemplating if I’ll ever be able to muster up the courage to give it another shot. It was a hurtful reality-check for me. Cancer has essentially taken away my ability to do some thing I love.  I could always practice in the comfort of my home, but I don’t think it’ll yield that same satisfaction. I keep telling myself that this incident is all in my head and that I need to go back to thinking positively. I need to really think about what these side effects of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy have done to my body and work past it all so that I’ll never feel like a failure again.

 Failure is a mindset.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” – Maya Angelou

Beats

I close my eyes and just take in the air, I breathe in the chords, the bass

and my pulse are one. I am okay. I am safe.

My mind settles and the consciousness proceeds to slow and become the weightlessness I crave. It’s the ecstasy that I remember without a pill, it’s the full force of being submerged in each note, dripping slowly but surely through a pinhole into my soul.

It is alive and it has consumed me, again.

Love

The Naked & Famous (In Rolling Waves) 

Despite all of the bumps in the road, I can’t help but feel blessed. Yes, I hate that I get extremely exhausted after chemotherapy, and I have become a housewife who on occasion will venture out into the world. I can’t help but see all of the fabulous things people post on their sites, their amazing grown up jobs, their newest accomplishment, and so on.  For a faint second a speck of envy lingers in my heart, but just as quickly as it was sparked, it gets crushed by a sense of calm in knowing that I have what many people may not, true relationships which contain real love. It is a love that allows me to continue fighting in all my sickness and the nonsense that encompasses this world.

 Growing up in an environment where love, emotions and feelings are not fostered, I had a no real idea of how to express myself, but through experiences, depression, and ruined relationships, I’ve come pretty far. I have learned the importance of acceptance, compromise, and truly being able to express how I feel in all forms of communication. When it comes to love, whether it’s your special someone, your parents, or a best friend, all of those things are important.  

As far as a special someone being concerned, I truly believe with my entire being that I lucked out. I was blessed enough to meet, who I believe is my soul mate. That person who I have known and loved in a past life, and was fortunate enough to come across in this lifetime.

 From the start of our relationship, I was very frank and communicated exactly what I wanted, what I was going through, and let him know that if he saw it as too much baggage, he could leave, no hassle, no argument. I believed at that time that I emotionally, financially and whatnot was able to be independent, and didn’t need to get involved unless it was worth it. I suppose I had too much pride at the time to let someone in. 

Yet here I am, two years, countless emotional episodes (mainly on my part), three brain surgeries, ongoing cancer treatments, a handful of real arguments later, and we’ve made it.  From the get go, we promised that we would never go to sleep mad at one another, we always talked things through, never held grudges, never screamed at the other, accepted the flaws, and adjusted to the changes. We’re getting married in December, and each day I learn more and more about him, our relationship, and most importantly myself.

 

Whether it’s building a relationship with your mom, friend or significant other, know that “love is a journey, not a destination”. 

Help.

Listening to Skream

 I’ve recently been made more aware of the negative stigma mental health has in our society. 

Recently, my Neuro-oncologist brought it to my attention that it was a good idea for me to think about taking anti-depressants. I think I sat for a good few minutes and shifted my eyes between the light switch on the wall and his face.  He listed off the possible side effects that I didn’t pay attention to at the time. I said yes, took them home and pulled the bottle out before bed. That staring contest between myself, and the bottle was all too familiar. 

 When I started college I was in the exact same position. At that time, I was unable to cope with the reoccurring nightmares of past traumatic events. I think that there was a sense of shame in admitting it. Admitting that I needed extra help, and I couldn’t do it with just my internal pep talks every morning and night. “No, I can just go to counseling for this, I’m fine”, is what I told myself as I stuffed the bottle into my sock drawer at the time. , I was stubborn and saw it as cheating, and I felt that I was strong enough to fight these demons on my own.

It’s been  over a month since I recently started taking the anti-depressants, and I feel the difference. It’s not the fake happy I assumed it would be. It is a sense of overall calmness, there’s now an absence of irritability on a daily basis, and I find it a little bit easier to not wallow in sadness. I realized that my mental health is just as important as my physical health. If I am fighting this terminal illness, I want to be happy throughout the journey, and at the end, regardless of the outcome.   

Yes, things get tough as we cope with events that have passed. Facing depression, anxiety, or anything dealing with our mental health doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Controlled medication for these illnesses is a tool in recovery. If you’re not feeling okay, that’s okay. If you need a helping hand with sorting out your thoughts, seeking professional help is okay. I find no shame or discomfort in announcing that I need help because it will allow me to be okay at the end of the day. I have learned to accept all forms of help, professional, familial, et cetera, because what I’ve gone through personally isn’t something I can handle on my own, and that’s okay.