Our daughter, Kalissa, was driving home from a 12-hour shift at work. She called me and we were chatting. I told her I needed to get two blog posts written yet before I headed up to bed. She asked me what I was going to write about. I told her I had an “Ask Jo” segment almost finished but I wasn’t sure what else I was going to write about.
I’ve been writing the blog here for over 11 1/2 years now so I’ve learned that sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to write about I just sit down and something typically comes. I might look on Facebook and see something that inspires me. I might look at the pictures on my phone and something inspires me.
What ended up inspiring this post was Kalissa. She said she thought I should write a blog post about how I deal with my unknown cancer stuff. She said I handle it all so well and she thought maybe, I might have something to say that might help one of you dealing with cancer, other medical things, or even life problems.
I thought I could give that topic a try. So how do I deal with the unknown? How do I deal with knowing cancer is growing inside me? How do I deal with knowing slow-growing cancer might change suddenly and become fast-growing? How do I deal with knowing cancer might be my ending?
I know this sounds simple but I just keep on living. I control what I can and have learned to let go of the rest. There was a time in my life that I was a worrier. I worried if my kids would grow into their names. I vividly remember worrying if would I pick the right name for my kids. I never wanted a girl name that sounded delicate like Tiffany because I was sure any child that came from Kramer and I would not be delicate…and I was right. They aren’t. Poor Kalissa has to wear men’s shoes as she can’t find shoes in a size women’s 13 wide.
I worried that I wouldn’t be liked. I worried that my kids wouldn’t be liked. I worried if I wore the right clothes, if my house was clean enough, if someone thought I was a nice person…oh my. The list could go on for forever. I would go to bed and couldn’t sleep. I had all the things to worry about. I remember lying in bed and listing the things I was worried about trying to find a solution to fix it all…and all of the things I was worried about weren’t something I could fix.
I don’t worry anymore.
After I was diagnosed with cancer, I learned that those things aren’t worth worrying about. The right clothes are the last things I worry about. Before I was so worried about if I looked like I wore “mom jeans”. Now I just put on what is in the closet and trust my daughters will tell me if I need something different.
One might think that being I don’t worry about that other “stuff”, that I might transfer my worrying to worrying about my cancer. I haven’t. I don’t.
Here’s the truth of things. Every 3-6 months, the doctors haul me in and give me the whole gamut of tests. I get blood work, ultrasounds, chest CTs, PET scans, and whatever else they can think of. I am watched closely. I go to the doctor for other things regularly. I just had a colonoscopy. I am going to schedule a mammogram soon. I take care of myself the best I can. I do everything I can do to watch my health…well I don’t eat perfectly, but other than that, I’m doing all I can.
If something shows up in any of these tests or procedures, I know that I have done everything I could do to catch it early. Beyond that, I can’t control a single other thing in regards to my health. None. Zip. Zero. NOT A SINGLE THING.
I can control nothing that happens inside my body in regards to disease. I cannot control a single thing. So, what would worrying do?
Well, worrying could do something…I think worrying could damage my mental health. That is the very last thing I want to do any damage to.
This might seem off-topic but bear with me…
Carver, my grandson, has been having a miserable time going to sleep at night. He cries and then Gannon cries. He gets so worked up that he can’t fall asleep. It has become a MAJOR battle at their house and he’s made bedtime a total nightmare.
I talked to Carver about one day and told him, “If you cry, you make Gannon feel worried and he cries, and not only that, when you cry, YOU WORRY YOURSELF”.
I believe this is true. Worry is a terrible cycle.
If I fret about my health and my cancer blowing up, I will end up worrying myself…if I worry myself too much, I’m going to end up in tears. I will then be no good to anyone. Once a person gets on the worry wagon, it is really hard to get off.
So…I CHOOSE not to worry. Worrying is a choice. I truly believe it can be.
Have you ever thought of your legacy? What are people going to remember you by when you leave this world? At Kramer’s funeral, so many people came to me and commented on how Kramer was a community helper serving on the fire department and first responders. People told me what a hard worker he was. People told me they would miss “shooting the shit with him”.
What will people say about me?
I certainly don’t want them to say after her husband died, she dried up into a ball. I don’t want them to say after her cancer diagnosis, she just gave up on life. I don’t want to give my life and time away to worry.
So rather than focus my life on my cancer, rather than worrying about something that might or might come true, I focus my life on my legacy. After all, I might not have as many years as all of you do to leave that legacy. So I need to work on it NOW.
So rather than worry…
I spent time with my kids. I’m sweeter and kinder to them.
I am more focused when I spend time with people.
I cross-stitch big pieces that will be treasured for years to come and not as many cutesy things.
I write down the recipes and share them.
I lookout for the people in my community and help when I can.
I work with the community quilt project here on the blog.
I work to make the blog a place where many of you enjoy drinking your coffee with in the morning.
I love up on my grandkids. I want them to remember me and remember how loved they are.
I grow my African Violets.
I continue to make and gift quilts.
I make my house a home.
I tend my gardens and my plants outside.
I cook big family suppers.
I am present.
I write this blog and sometimes write posts like this one with the hope that those of you who worry can find a way to move from a life of worry and just live the life in front of you, controlling what you can, and letting go of the rest.
So…Kalissa wanted me to write about how I deal with my unknown cancer stuff. It’s as simple as this. Control what you can control and let the rest go. Focus on your legacy instead.
Cancer has taken my husband and is taking space in my body. I can’t control cancer… Cancer changed my life. Cancer controls my body, but I choose to not let cancer control my mind.
Control what you can control and let the rest go. It’s a good motto to go by whether you have cancer or not. I wish it wouldn’t have taken cancer for me to see that. I could have had so many more stress-free days had I only known that worry is a choice.
It bears repeating…it’s what I tell myself every morning…and it works…
Control what you can control and let the rest go!