Today I received notification from my endocrinologist that my one-year anniversary of treatment for thyroid cancer looks good. All the tests came back where he wanted them. And today I took a full deep breath and reminded myself to relax, not to worry, and yes I can look forward.
It is interesting to witness my reaction to medical news or any news. I am not aware that I hold my breath or all that implies. I am not aware that my shoulders are lifted the slightest bit. I am not aware of this until I get good results and notice my shoulders drop, my brow unfurrows and I take a deep full breath. I allow the warrior woman to relax, thank the Gods that be, and move forward with a lighter step.
I became aware of this when I was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. The first year was tough. Not all the news was good, yet I waded through that first year and it became easier. Each time my annual visit came around I prepared myself for the news, good or bad. When another year went by and everything looked good, I relaxed, and down went the shoulders, my face softened and I took a full deep breath.
In April of 2019, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. One side of my thyroid was removed. I delayed having the other side removed until I returned from an amazing trip to Africa. That following November the other side of my thyroid was removed. I underwent the radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer in early 2020.
Most of the year I am fine but when this winter arrived and I had to get my lab work and ultrasound done, the worrying began. Up go the shoulders, the brow furrow deepens and I hold my breath. I want the news to be good yet I am readying myself if the news isn’t so good.
Now I can relax for another six months until more lab work is due.
- I practice yoga, at least five sun salutations a day, or a full practice.
- I stop and take five deep breaths (count in for 4 and out for 4), in and out, each day. I may repeat the process several times a day. It is unlimited. Sometimes I add a mantra to my breath.
- Exercise is important. I bike, hike, and walk. I also do weight-bearing exercises.
- I see a counselor when I need to.
- I try to journal but am not faithful to this form.
- I go out and take photos. Nature and photography can calm my soul. Birdwatching has the same effect.
- I call my friends and family. It is good to have others to vent to when I am alone so much of the time.
- And always, I remember to breathe.
After Jim, my husband, died I took a twelve-week mindfulness meditation course, through my HMO. I was looking for anything that could help me get through one of the worst times of my life. Mindfulness Meditation helped me focus on breathing and learning techniques to move forward through grief. Breath was definitely a focus of this course.
Conscious breathing is my reminder to slow down, everything is OK. Breathing reminds me to let go of what I cannot control, to reset, everything is OK. Breath helps me to relax, everything is OK. Breathing reminds me I am OK, I am doing the best I can at this moment in time. My lungs are happy that I am giving them the exercise they need to do the best job they can do.
Today I am taking a deep breath. I am thankful for good test results. Today I am breathing and looking forward to a time in the Northwestern United States. I am more relaxed and tonight I am confident that I will sleep just a wee bit more soundly.
Today I am breath. Today I am breathing.
Today I am thankful and grateful.