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In My Element

These days, as I'm getting a routine together and feeling stronger day after day, I'm starting to feel even more confident and happy about the way things are going.

It's a departure from my previous life, I know, but I think I'm actually doing a pretty good job of taking care of myself these days.

Back in the day (as in, when I had no idea I that there was cancer in the ol' body), I didn't rest. I barely slept (I considered 6 hours to be excellent and would often get less), I rushed around from obligation to obligation (actual work, work-related, community-related, fun-related), and I packed in as much of these obligations without rest as possible. By mentioning "fun," I'm not saying I actually built in time for long weekend or relaxing-type fun -- I'm talking about the kind of fun that exists in very small increments and is almost stressful in and of itself, given the fact it was jammed into my schedule like a fat foot in a small shoe. Despite this frantically busy life, I was happy as a clam.

I never actually believed that pushing myself as hard as I did would ever result in a reduced level of wellness, and certainly didn't believe it could contribute to out and out unhealthiness. I thought that ridiculously hard work (which I loved) was good for me, and figured that decently healthy eating, pretty regular exercise, and never using any drugs of any kind would make me a picture of health.

Cancer changed all of that for me.

First of all, let me clear something up. I still see myself as a picture of health. That's all part of this awesome visualization stuff I'm working on that is just one prong in my multi-pronged approach for the cancer beatdown (plus, I feel pretty incredible so the visualization stuff isn't much of a leap for me). If you don't believe I'm the picture of health, join me at the gym any day of the week. I mean that literally -- I train five days a week. :)

But back to the point. I've always known and believed in that old adage, "my body is a temple," and I never polluted my body with drugs (booze doesn't count) and always tried to be fit (despite struggling with weight here and there throughout my adult life). Little did I realize, though, that listening to your body and giving it rest is essential. Actual, deep, rejuvenating rest. 

Now...finally...I'm resting. At least 8 hours of sleep a night, not stuffing too many tasks or errands in a given day, and taking time to reflect, relax, and enjoy every moment. The old me would say that my body had better not get used to this but, you know what? Go ahead and get used to it, body. You've earned it. I know it took cancer for me to treat you nicely, but I'm being good to you now, so work with me here. I know you will.

Today I met with an acupuncturist, who is now my acupuncturist (the appointment went well). She does five-element acupuncture, which is a specific type of acupuncture that addresses the body's overall wellness as opposed to an ache or pain in a particular area. The goal of the practice is to promote balance of the body's energy, which correlates to a balance of the body's functions. Pretty cool stuff. I really enjoyed my session, and didn't have any problems with the tiny needles that were placed all along my back, toward the side of my chest, and even a couple in the feet (although those felt sort of weird). And what about bleeding, you might ask? Especially now that I'm on that Lovenox medication that thins my blood? Not a speck of blood. Good times.

After my session, I felt like I had taken a fantastic four-hour nap (no, I didn't snooze with a bunch of needles sticking out of my back). So relaxed and invigorated. Even now, my breathing seems deeper and more cleansing. It's hard to describe, but I feel better. And I didn't think I could feel any better than I did when I walked into that appointment. Five-element acupuncture just made itself a new fan today. 

These days, and for the first time in a pretty long time, my focus is on me. Taking care of myself, giving myself the rest that my body has been asking for for God knows how long, and nurturing myself (and writing about myself, which you all seem to enjoy which is beyond awesome to me). Don't get me wrong, I'm still very devoted to everyone in my life, but I think I'm now actually and consistently putting my needs in front of others. It felt strange at first, and it's weird to admit, but I know it's important to keeping my engine going as it chugs down that track to fighting and beating The Big C. Let the healing -- and the beatdown -- continue.

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