I was talking to my acupuncturer (acupuncturist?) yesterday and we were discussing ways that I can start to get back on track a bit. The subject of happiness came up and I have been thinking about this since then.
I said that, for me, happiness is made up of small things, and not big things. Happiness is not a new car, or a possession. Happiness is waking up to the birds singing the dawn chorus on a sunny late spring day, as I did this morning. Happiness is practising Mindfull breathing and realising that right now, in this exact moment I am safe and secure. The trick is to actually notice that you are actually happy and allowing that to register in your brain.
A lot of the things I have been reading are about changing the way that I think, about myself and my life. I don't think that I have ever been convinced that I have the right to be happy, or that I could actually be happy. It had actually surprised me that certainly since my Stage IV diagnosis there are those who think of me as a very positive person. I am not sure that positive is the right choice of word; I would perhaps choose determined or just plain stubborn. No one is going to sit there and tell me there is nothing that can be done to save my life, that the only route is palliative care, and expect me to accept it; especially when 'they' ignored test results, symptoms etc which meant that by the time they finally realised I was telling the truth it was already too late.
So what do you do then?
There are several options, but we all have to choose the one that suits us the best. The one that we can actually follow in practice as well as theory; the one the feels right for us. I was not prepared to accept that there was no way to save my life, although I was only 47 at the time. I refuse to accept the modernist concept that science has the answers because there are too many things that scientists can't explain, and creating medical concoctions may have given us some things that work, but it has also given up a great deal that don't work, and those that do work all seem to have unwanted side effects some of which can be very dangerous. Is the Power of the Human Mind stronger thatn the Power of Nature? I think not. I cannot tell if I would ever decide to have chemotherapy, but one thing I do know is that I want to try natural medicines first. I want things that are going to help build my body up, and not indescriminately slaughter all in its path.
But living with cancer is more than just the medicines that you take and still being able to breath. It envolves an holistic life on many levels. It is most certainly about quality of life over quantity of life but being able to achieve Quality of Life is about more than the body working, it is about the heart, the mind, the spirit and maybe the ultimate Quality of Life is happiness.
Achieving this holistic survival is not easy, and it takes practice. I have to remind myself to enjoy life rather than just plodding on day after day. I can plod very well, but skipping, jumping and taking joy in being alive is not something that I do naturally. It seems to me that happiness exists in a part of my brain that I don't utilise very often, so may be the way forward is to find a way to rewire my brain!