Well, I haven’t written in awhile. I finished radiation treatment a few weeks ago (fingers crossed that’s it for good) and I really thought I would use the recovery time to write more for #TEALPOWER, but what I found was that I really needed a break. My brain was so full of cancer things everyday for the last few months – I really needed the time to try to release, adjust and recover.
People have been checking up on me, asking what’s next. And I didn’t really know what to say, because I don’t really know what is next. After treatment you have to let your body recoup before you go back for your follow up appointments. It sounds like there will be a bunch of follow ups in the coming months. So I sit and wait til mid March for those. But I’ve realized, I’m really bad at waiting and sitting still. The Olympics kept me distracted for awhile, but I started to throw myself back into work – which is a good and bad thing for me. As awesome as it is to get my brain around work things… anyone who knows “business Ali” knows I really throw myself all-in. I started getting back to my workout regime, to kick off training for this year’s Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago – an 8K race that has now become a tradition that my bro, my boyfriend and I run together with my huge Chi-town family supporting us from the sidelines. My last race, the Toronto Waterfront 5K, I ran right before I was diagnosed so the Shamrock is extra important to me to bookend dealing with this cancer, and as a goal for me both physically and mentally. So the last few weeks have brought me a few long days and late nights, and I REALLY felt it. My challenge over the last few weeks has been trying to balance the million things my brain wants to do, with what my body is able to do. It’s been a frustrating balance cause my mind tells me I am capable of doing it, but I have to remember what my poor body has been through the last few months. I want to push myself to get better, but I have to be careful how much I push and learn my limits right now. I have to keep repeating to myself “slow and steady.”
One of the bloggers I have been following posted this article last week, about what young cancer survivors struggle with. I really related to this – reading other peoples’ accounts on how cancer, and life after cancer, has affected their social and love lives, their finances, dealing with how this disease can often postpone or cancel normal life transitions that people our age not dealing with it will never know, and how scarring it all can be. It made me feel “normal” in the stage I am in. Sometimes I think going through treatment everyday kept me stronger because I was surrounded by it so much. Slow and steady will get me used to my new normal… and there is nothing wrong with that.
This past weekend, Ty and I headed up to our friends’ cottage and it actually was perfectly timed. It was a nice little escape, with great company and so relaxing. We enjoyed the beautiful winter weather, big laughs, and some yummy food and wine. It made me feel like life was getting back to normal. There wasn’t a rush to be anywhere by any particular time. When I was tired, I took a nap… slow and steady. And the best was that Ty got a chance to relax too. He’s been through a lot too and it was so nice to see him let loose in his element. I’m really grateful for that.
So now what? I borrow the words of the last paragraph from the article I mentioned above. It’s where I think #TEALPOWER is now:
Comedian Gilda Radner once said of cancer, “If it weren’t for the downside, everybody would want to have it.” From scars and emotional trauma to a lingering fear of recurrence, there’s certainly a downside to beating cancer that outsiders don’t always realize. But young adults often find the upside Radner spoke of, using their post-cancer life to prioritize loved ones and do good in the world.
A special thanks to my friends at etalk for sending me these awesome #TEALPOWER pics from the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Made me smile!