[dih-zeez] according to Dictionary.com
1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.
“something happens to a human being from the time they are well until the time they become clinically sick that is not included in scientific medicine as we know it today. Human beings do not suddenly become sick. Did you ever stop to think the word disease comes from two words: dis (without) and ease (bliss, well being, happiness)? Do not our thoughts and actions lead to disease?”–Frank Appleby, M.D., Chairman of the Dept. of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia
Generally speaking, I leave my cancer to the month of October. In between, I try to feel like I did pre-Sept 2008…which is, like many, Invinsible. In October, I snoop through clinical trials and browse stats, etc. Generally speaking, October can be rough.
But today I read the above tidbit by Dr. Appleby and it struck a chord. No one wants to think she made herself sick. I fear the truth, however, is that the mind and body are quite synchronized. I remember some things that were going through my head in 2007 and 2008. I remember some unrest. Life coming to turning points I did not want to face. Nothing big. Remember I’m a princess! My thoughts wandered this way…
By nearly every standard out there, I live (and always have lived) a life of ease. Never have I feared a bill, a neighbor, a test. Well, I feared calculus, but who doesn’t? But as I neared middle age, I was becoming restless. I became hypercritical of myself. And I was falling short of who I wanted to be in every category. While I never lacked self-confidence, I lacked…hmmm…self-acceptance. Perhaps this is only a problem among princesses? I don’t think so. As we age, I’m guessing we begin to wonder if all of our time and energy is well spent. I know around the age of 50-60, many start to wonder if their work load is keeping them from more meaningful or enjoyable life experiences. I guess my “motherload” was changing and I was wondering where to go next. You never retire from motherhood. But, when it’s your only job, you do notice an obvious switch when all the kiddies are full time students. The house is empty for hours and perhaps there is just a bit too much time for self-reflection.
So, I reflected too much? Maybe. I certainly wasn’t TRYING to get cancer. But, perhaps I laid a good foundation for those rogue cells. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not beating myself up because I have cancer. I’ve beaten myself up for LOTS of things I’ve done and haven’t done. What I’m trying to convey is simply this: humans aren’t perfect, period. I kinda thought I was. I thought I was pretty smart. Pretty successful. Had a GREAT husband. Had GREAT kids. Loved my house, my neighbors, my mini van! Still, I felt this tug to do more, like I just wasn’t enough. What I’m trying to say is this: yes, you are. You are enough. Bono and Mother Theresa, they won Nobel Prizes. I didn’t. You probably won’t either. I thought this meant I wasn’t doing enough. Then I finally came to the conclusion that this fact is ok. Maybe you came to that conclusion when you were 10. But, I was a perfection-seeker for much of my life. I only wanted people to see the best of me. I even realize that I was trying really hard to be the best cancer patient. I rarely complained of side effects, I called if I was going to be late for my appointment (cuz doctors are never running late, right?!). I was kinda full of dis-ease. I wasn’t allowing myself to just….be. I’ve totally got that figured out now!!! I can relax like no other! (see, I’m doing it again….being the best at something) I’m really trying now, though, seriously, not to take myself so seriously. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ll likely make some more. I may have forgotten your birthday, or not sent you a thank you card. But, I’m no longer going to expect to get it all right. I’m allowing myself guilt free lazy days. I’m allowing myself time alone. I’m allowing myself to quit doing something to go to Starbucks with my kids (ok, THAT’S not new!) I guess the difference is that, at the end of the day, I’m trying really hard not to care if I have nothing real to show as the day’s work. It IS enough that I spent an hour chatting with (at?) my husband at breakfast, took the dog to the park for a walk, picked a kid up from school, made a dinner and walked the dog again. I have, after all, observed the first line in the Hippocratic oath…I have “done no harm”. (is that really the first line?) Also, I have realized this….took me too long to realize it….that in these meals together, these car rides, I have shared and listened to many a fun fact, many an opinion. And amazingly, I have shaped some other human beings. I have not yet, nor will I ever, win a Nobel Peace Prize. But, I’ve created other humans and let them be creative. Two have become vegetarians, and one a student of nutrition, in part because of me. My passion has always been food. I’ve managed to pass along this passion. I do not need the above mentioned prize. I have left a mark on someone else’s thought processes. These other people will carry the torch. I never needed to be perfect. I always had a purpose. Same with you.
We don’t all need to reach some high standard, we just need to open our hearts and minds to the people we can touch. Hmmm, cliche’? Anyway, quit beating yourself up because you aren’t something you thought you should be. Just be you. Then, you’ll be full of ease. Keep the “dis” at bay.