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Gratitude Practice 8 of 12

Exhausted looking pale person with irritated-looking skin.
My skin irritation is somewhat obvious in this photo, I feel like my fatigue is palpable! You can see that my eyebrows and eyelashes are starting to thin.

Gratitude Practice: second week of third chemo cycle.

At this stage, I was just grateful to get through the week.

Every day was a step closer.

Firstly, the focus every day was on my medications, my fluid and solids intake, and my wound care. Secondly, it was about the gratitude practice – it was my lifeline to feeling like I still existed. Thirdly, my goals through chemo were to avoid hospitalization, and my overall goal throughout the whole experience was to avoid a depressive episode. Fourthly, it was about my rehab: both physical and cognitive. Finally, it was about remaining connected to my community.

“Just Joey” rose – my mother was known as Jo and we laughed about this rose before her death of cancer in 2000.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day One (Day 50 of 85).

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”

Marcus Aurelius – Meditations, 161-180AD.

This sums up the cancer experience, chemo, and my long convalescence. There was and is, a lot of letting go, of surrender (although that word makes me uncomfortable because I rejected the battle and warfare terminology, completely). It is perhaps acceptance.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Two (Day 51 of 85).

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

Kindness and gratitude have been significant practices for me for over 15 years: it was an excellent practice to have in my toolkit to live through my cancer experience.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Three (Day 52 of 85).

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Cancer Patient on Instagram was a great source of gallows humour for me. I certainly don’t feel strong, and I didn’t then either. I don’t feel that cancer made me stronger. I don’t think think it is about strength at all. I feel lucky, mostly, and grateful.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Four (Day 53 of 85).

“The more we are steeped in gratefulness, the more it absorbs us until we start to radiate it from within.”

Tim Roberts

I felt like a revenant haunting my own home; I would wake, take meds, eat, take in fluids, then rest (because I could not lie down after eating due to reflux, indigestion, and nausea). Then I would do some physio, some stretches, some cognitive therapy, and nap. Shower, wound care, rest. More fluids. Cognitive therapy, physio, stretches, dinner, bed. More medication. Death warmed up.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Five (Day 54 of 85).

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

14 weeks post-surgery.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Six (Day 55 of 85).

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution”

Kahlil Gibran

There was a lot of sleeping and resting going on.

Chemo Round Three of Four, Week Two, Day Seven (Day 56 of 85).

“Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

Camille Pissarro

Daphne from my garden.


Ensure that you are vigilant around your self-examination. Train yourself to check your breasts/testicles routinely, and monitor your bowel habits and your urine output. These are our body’s early warning signs, and we don’t have a lot of awareness of them.

So true… One of my oncology team said to me at the start: ” if you ever want to work again, you have do cognitive therapy – brain training stuff like crosswords, puzzles, sudoku”. I found a heap of apps and would do about two hours at least every day – I cannot imagine what my cognitive function would have been like otherwise .


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