Better the devil you know?

Exemestane is the devils drug I have decided. I am determined that it does not dictate or direct my life, which I succeed sometimes at achieving but other times it takes over and I feel like I am constantly moaning and make up my list of ailments. Unfortunately they are real, very debilitating and I am only now beginning to come to terms with the fact that I am not able to do and behave the way I did before cancer. I think I have mentioned this before that when you are diagnosed with cancer you have an abundance of support from medical professionals, family and friends as soon as treatment stops you are left on your own and get on with your life but the problem is you don’t recognise this life.

Adapting to a change in body shape, loss of mobility and overall body shape along with all the aches and pains day in day out is very hard to accept and you are meant to feel grateful, as at least you are alive! So many people say this and in fact I find myself saying it before someone else does otherwise I may say something to them that I shouldn’t I realise that people are only trying to be positive and supportive and if I don’t know what to say to myself then I cannot expect anyone else too. So another lesson that I have learnt is to be truthful to yourself and others about how hard this cancer journey is , admitting that you struggle with certain activities of daily living does not make you weak.

I have recently started two new jobs which i am really enjoying and able to use all my nursing skills I am not doing full time hours so that gives me a few days a week that I can do things that are relaxing and recover from the hectic past couple of years I have had. Having some space to continue the healing process has given me time to find a new hobby and I am loving making candles.

Hobbies are creative- by producing something that never existed before, you are engaging the creative network of your brain. Creative pursuits are experimental acts, these acts expand the neural networks in our brains making connections between the circuits in the brain that might not otherwise be connected. This type of neural linking up boosts mood and releases the feel good hormone dopamine and opioids in the brain making these hobbies restorative for mental health. While engaging in a hobby you also enter a mental state known as flow or ‘ getting in the zone’ This occurs when you are engaged in an activity to the point of almost meditative focus, getting into this focused state promotes mindfulness which is known for its positive effects on stress and anxiety. It has been proven that turning to something non-work related allows us to hit the reset button in a brain that feels depleted of energy after a few hours of high stress work. I feel for these reasons alone it makes having a hobby is a real must for everyone and I would be curious to know what hobbies people reading this blog have, please let me know.

We recently got a puppy, well he is eleven months now, a rescue from Greece, his mother was a stray and was rescued when she was pregnant. He is the cutest and most docile puppy I have ever had and a great addition to the family, although I am not sure that Alfie my basset hound feels the same way, he gives me looks as if to say’ what have you done?’

So life is good and I have a lot to be grateful for, equally I have what feels like a hard battle to get my body to function like it did before. I am determined to reach that goal but I am also realistic that I have to embrace the new me and learn to love the new Helen.