Johanna’s Week 13

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Strong - Health Scare Part 1 (I got the results, 100% healthy)

The word ‘Strong’ came up with one of the beads Tuesday morning, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

I don’t know when, but at least a few months ago, I discovered a lump in my throat. It’s not visible, but obvious when you touch it. It’s about 1,5 cm (1 inch). A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, another one quite recently. And still it wasn’t until I had a chat with my mother and sister that I realized my lump actually could be something serious.

So Tuesday morning was the day I was to call the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. And there in the morning right in front of me, was the message I needed – STRONG. Two days later I found myself at the doctor’s office. The first thing you do here in Sweden is to register and pay the humble fee for your visit – 200 Swedish kronor (30 dollars). As I paid I got this gut feeling that I better ask the receptionist for a high-cost protection form. Cancer was on my mind, and I figured if I am sick my financial situation will be affected, me being a freelance writer and all… So I got the form and the receptionist puts the first stamp in it, and my heart races and I wonder – ”Is this my first stamp having cancer?”.

During the medical exam the doctor finds two more lumps. If I at first was quite relaxed about the lump situation, that had now changed. I saw her worried look as she discovered the new lumps, and I noticed how her voice changed as she told me not to worry. And I know, that’s what she has to say. There’s absolutely noting else she can say, unless she breaks the rules. I noticed that I couldn’t quite fixate my gaze, and I felt the muscles in my face tighten. My heart started to beat faster, and my hands got a bit shaky. In my mind different scenarios of how I will handle having cancer flashed before my eyes. For how long will I be able to work? Will I survive the cancer? Will I be able to have a baby (my friend told me they are freezing the eggs, and that one can’t really have a baby for the next 10 years if one doesn’t want to risk getting a relapse). I’m thinking ‘I’m screwed’. But then, do I want to have a baby? Will the people who hire me for work withdraw, and hire other writers because I will be a liability? How will I then make money? Who will help me out? I know from experience that life changing events makes your friends and loved ones show their true colors – so…who will stay and who will leave me behind?

The doctor never used the C word during my visit, and I couldn’t help but thinking of the unspoken. And when she gave me the referral she still didn’t say. It wasn’t until I got the paper in my hand that it was clear, the referral was to ”Radiumhemmet”, the Oncology department.

I had 4 days before I could go and get the tests done. Fear was creeping up on me after the doctor’s appointment. I started to google possible diagnosis, treatments and outcomes. But then I stopped myself. I’ve become really interested in the power of thought, that what ever we are thinking of we manifest in our lives. I realized that I was stirring up a lot of negative emotions, and I knew it could only affect me in a negative way. It didn’t help me one single bit. I pondered the word ‘Strong’ that I had gotten out of the bead jar on Tuesday morning. I decided that I would hold on to ‘Strong’ in the sense of not being broken or injured. I decided that the only way to be healthy was to redirect my thoughts. I decided that I was whole, healthy and strong. That I won’t be sick until I get a diagnosis.

Of course I couldn’t just release the worrying and fearful thoughts, but when I noticed they were creeping back into my mind I told myself they won’t help me. That I couldn’t do anything about the situation right now, that I just needed to wait until I can take the tests. That the only thing I could do right now was to live my life the best way I could. The beads clarified this week’s battle in amazing way. The morning ritual centered me. I noticed when pondering having a serious illness that I am already living my life the best way I can. In that moment I knew that I was okay, that I in that moment didn’t want to change one thing about my life. Maybe if I just had 30 days to 6 months left to live, then I might ponder traveling, but other than that… I’m living my days the way I deeply want to. That realization made me more at ease. I also realized that I before The Bead Movement wouldn’t have handled the situation as gracefully as I know did, and I wouldn’t have come to this sense of ease in the midst of it all. I would have panicked. The invaluable experience of this week was that I instead of living in a worst case scenario, chose to live in uncertainty. That I, in fact, chose to live in the NOW.

Love, Johanna

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