We're back back from a trip that proved to be more than a vacation. It was relaxing and we did a whole lot of nothing. We rested.
On the flip side, all that downtime showed me that I'd been holding a LOT in. Unbelievably, each day, amid sand, sun, and fun, I had one solid freak out. It wouldn't be prompted by anything in particular, but all of the sudden I'd have to go back to the room and weep and breathing-exercise-myself back to sanity. The last day especially. Buckets.
First, I was appalled with myself. What was wrong with me?
Well, then I thought that maybe, genius, for 9.5 months you haven't stopped to process everything? And this is the first time you could sit and "relax" and let your mind wander? (It wandered off a goddamn cliff.)
I notice it occurs when I'm close to feeling like my old self and entertaining hopes for a healthy future when...SMACK, fear sets in. It smacks me right across the face reminding me, in a cruel, evil whisper, that it could come back, or it is back ("What's that pain in your back? your shoulder? That's not normal, is it? You haven’t even been declared cancer free, so what are you even celebrating here? Oh, what's that voicemail? An appointment reminder, in two days…at the cancer center…why don't you Google "shoulder pain" and cancer...do it..." etc. etc.)
The trip wasn't entirely like that, thank God. In the end, I know I needed this trip and I’m better for it. It just happened to bring out a lot of anguish I'd been harboring, paranoia and worry and pain.
I think Mike had a lot to let go too. He’s been under tremendous strain. And after this, we are even closer. He's the best travel buddy you can ever ask for. The best partner. I can’t overstate this: I love him.
Oh by the way, I went wigless! I hid under a floppy sun hat the first couple days (seriously, even in the water), but slowly, I poked that bald little boy-head out into the world, more and more. I feared someone saying something stupid to me, something that would embarrass me or make me feel uncomfortable or make me cry. But no one did. Not once. And it was wonderful.
Since I’ve been back I can’t say the worry hasn’t crept in again. That the pain in my neck, shoulders, back, freaks me out to no end. I do notice it's worse when I'm feeling tense and stressed...(could it be the stress? Or something else? Around and around we go.)
But I resolve to resist the panicky moments. I will not worry unduly. I will not let stress overtake. I will not let it ruin a perfectly good day. I will relax, and be optimistic, and treat my body like a temple. Hope, relief, love, IN. Pain, worry, stress, OUT. That's my mantra when I meditate and breathe, along with other incantations and it's all I can do.
In the meantime I'll look back on this trip as crucial to my progress, even if at times I wasn't able to get out of my own head. Most of the time it was a blessing and wonderful, and by God, the food! Delectable....if there's anything that distracts me sufficiently, it's food.
I guess most people who are healthy won't really relate to what I've just outlined. But to those who've been through this, or are going through this, don't be shocked if a vacation or a time of rest, and all the expectations set forth by others surrounding it, like '"Enjoy yourselves" and "relax! and "You deserve this!" can manifest in "all-consuming worry" and "too much thought space in this panic dome that I call my head." I think it's normal. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.