As a mind-body practitioner, I see the mind-body connection as unmistakable…unmistakably important to our well-being and to our health. So, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me that an attack on the body would erupt into the mind.
Chemo-brain. It’s like pregnancy brain…except a gazillion times worse.
When you google “chemo brain”, you find sites describing memory problems and mental fog, similar to what many women experience in pregnancy. But, chemo is not pregnancy. It is not natural, and therefore, it defies the logic that our bodies can interpret and systematically handle. It is mass destruction. The only point is to survive…both of you…in mind, body, and…in love.
It feels like, every week, I lose my husband for a day or two. I cling to the faith that he will return, the hope that he will not get sicker through the mental anguish, and the vision to see what is real…and what is terribly distorted.
Chemo-vision. As the spouse, loved one, or caretaker of someone going through chemo, it is absolutely imperative that we develop this higher sense.
Our vision is our ability to see and know the truth of our loved one despite what is happening right in front of our eyes. As the body rids the chemo toxins through vomiting, spots on the skin, dizziness, fatigue, and migraines, the mind rids the chemo toxins through its mental and emotional architecture. It has to. This sh#t must get out.
While it is heart-wrenching to watch my husband change so dramatically and abruptly, there is a gift inside. The gift of knowing my worth. The gift of strengthening my sense of worth. The strength to hold an unwavering vision despite contradictory evidence. While chemo overtakes parts of him temporarily, I need to ensure it does not overtake me.
Here is my top ten checklist that I work through…some weeks more successfully than others. This week was particularly bad, but we survived. Here he is at 12-weeks chemo…halftime for this former quarterback.
- Know that any attacks that seem personally directed at you are unreal and baseless.
- Get as much space as you need…without guilt.
- Honor and uphold your boundaries.
- Find ways to stay true to yourself while offering your unconditional love.
- Return to your higher vision as you would return to your breath in meditation.
- Ahh yes…meditate. Reclaim your strong centered place and find peace in the present moment…no matter how tumultuous it might seem.
- Protect yourself energetically. I visualize a white bubble of divine protection surrounding me…more here.
- Encourage light distraction, such as comedy, cooking, or movies. Anything to break the circularity and downward spiral of negative thought patterns. Anything to reconnect you both to joy.
- Exercise, eat well, get outside (well, unless you live in 100+ degree Vegas…then maybe just enjoy the sunrise or sunset from the inside!)
- Without engaging in the nonsense, make eye contact, embrace, and say “I love you”…as much as possible. Sometimes, it won’t land…not even close, but often, it will break him out of his chemo nightmare for at least a moment.
Ultimately, stand firmly in the vision that your loved one will return once the chemo has run its weekly rampage. Remember the goal is to survive…both of you…in mind, body, and…in love. Chemo-vision is a superpower worth cultivating.
Our vision expands beyond the present moment as we interpret the past and contemplate the future. Vision assimilates what we know with what we wish to experience.” ~Turn your eyes skyward…VISION