ULTIMATELY CHANGING BAD FOR GOOD

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my sexual assault.

And while I still feel the need to acknowledge it, I can say in all honesty that 24 September 2011 is no longer the worst day of my life.  Unfortunately that title now goes to 7 August 2017.  That is the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Neither of these events are things it ever occurred to me that I would have to deal with in my life.  Ever! And yet both have found their way into my experience.  The really weird thing is there are so many similarities between the two: neither were expected; I was/am fighting for my life; my body was/is in total shock; I had to/I have to now learn a new way to be, figure out a new ‘normal.’  Also, my startle response, which has never gone completely away, is back with a vengeance.  All I can think is, how did I not learn these lessons after my attack and why do I have to go through it all again, albeit from a completely different event?

What I really would like to do now, though, is change my mindset around my current situation.  To me, this means thinking about it in completely different terms.  For example, I am refraining from calling the chemotherapy that is running through my body as poison.  Instead, I think of it as the sweet elixir of life that is shrinking my tumor away to nothing.  Instead of lamenting that I cannot walk as far or play tennis for as long, I am doing my best to enjoy being able to rest during this time.  I know when it is all over, my strength and stamina will return.  I’ve always been more of a go-go-go-all-the-time kind of person, so this is simply as opportunity to relax and slow down.  Instead of wondering what I did wrong or what I may have done to deserve this, I am learning to accept that I did nothing wrong nor did I do anything to deserve this, it just happens and, unfortunately, it happens to millions of people.  All the care that I’ve taken up to this point most likely has saved me from far worse diseases, and will play a huge role in my beating and defeating the cancer I do have.

I am very fortunate.  I have a loving, supportive husband. I have great doctors and nurses and all kinds of support from family and friends.  I have people sending prayers and positive, healing energy to me from all around the world (thanks Facebook!)  So as much as I hate what I am going through, as hard as it has been on my body and will most likely continue to be, I am actually very, very lucky.

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20 NOVEMBER, 10 DECEMBER 2011

It was brought to my attention that my posts are unclear, so before I get to my journal entries, I just want to make clear exactly what it is I am posting.  When the title of my post is a date from 2011 (and 2012 after this post), that means it is an entry from my journal, from that time, of what I was feeling, going through and dealing with.  I also want to be clear that I am through my therapy and my PTSD is completely gone.  I am no longer depressed (or at least not to the extent I was immediately following the attack and for most of the healing process) and am not in any danger of ‘checking out’ early from this life of mine.  I am attempting to tell my story chronologically so that anyone following it can understand what I was thinking and feeling then.  My feelings now are different and once the entire story is written, I will be getting into my the continued process and journey.  I realize that some of what I write is hard to read, and it does get far worse before it gets better.  The whole reason for doing this, though, is to hopefully help others who are in a similar situation and feeling as if they are going stark-raving mad.  That certainly is how I felt a lot of the time.

Just a couple of short entries today…

20 November 2011

My horoscope today is worthy of recording in here:  ‘A rush of optimism and enthusiasm could propel you into a more positive frame of mind, and you could accomplish wonders.  Your circumstances may be turned upside down [understatement of the year, my words.] A move is possible, as is a change in your work.  Don’t cling to the shore – flow with the current.  Success and good fortune are on the way as long as you let them happen.’  Oh, yes, I like the sound of this.  It’s kind of what I’ve been thinking and feeling for a while now. Just need to allow it in.

10 December 2011

Last night Bill asked me if I was planning on walking this morning.  I told him I didn’t know, that I’d see if I could.  He then pointed out the probable reason that I seem to have so much trouble walking on Saturday mornings now: the attack happened on a Saturday morning.  Oh my gosh, how did I not realize this before?  That makes so much sense.

Well, we officially start the EMDR on Monday.  Another day that is very difficult for me.