How did you manage the mental aspects of battling cancer?
I named my chemo pump Tara Goddess of Healing, I got up, and I moved. I spent an exurbanite amount of time using visualisation techniques. I would lay at night and close my eyes and picture a house in in-between the ocean and the mountains. I would visualise that I would walk in with all my friends with me and take the medicine I so desperately needed off the shelf and I would take it with all my friends standing around me in a circle holding hands. When I had the medicine, we would all go down to the beach and get in the ocean and the ocean would wash through me and wash all the bad stuff away. I was a brave Warrior Sista and I would go into battle and beat whatever came my way.
I also never took anti-nausea meds after my one week ‘on’…. I would come home on the Friday night, eat a huge meal of Chinese takeout, and then spend the evening watching movies with a vomit bucket. I would vomit all night, but the next day I would feel so much better than if I had taken the anti-nausea. I would close my eyes and imagine that all the chemo I didn’t need was being expelled and that my body would then be clean and healed for the next round.
I got up and moved. To this day I almost never sit. I stand up at my office job and I stand up and any given opportunity. I move all the time. I don’t ever want to stop.
How do you think your experiences with cancer have altered the ways you perceive yourself?
I unleashed my inner sassy ranga self. There is no two ways about it. I used to be a pushover – I’m so far removed from that now that I had to go to therapy to reign myself in. From the minute I walked out of the diagnosis I was a different person. My poor husband didn’t know what hit him. Our marriage suffered greatly because of it too. I was untouchable. I took the bulls by the horns and didn’t let go. I was the strongest feistiest version of myself I have ever been. I was completely untouchable – until I was in my oncologist’s office, and only then did I crack, break down, cry, be vulnerable. I’m still the same today, although a much much softer version.