I come from a long line of worriers. My predecessors raised this obsessive activity to an art form, even worrying retrospectively when they felt the situation warranted it. My great aunt Gladys was a master at it – worrying aloud that I’d driven through a thunderstorm to visit her when there I was sitting right before her eyes, a little damp maybe, but safe and sound. My own inherited propensity towards worry notwithstanding, even I could see the idiocy. Nevertheless, this insight into the uselessness of retrospective worry did nothing to deter me from going full throttle with prospective worry about pretty much everything – from big stuff like how make a living to insignificant stuff like what I should wear to a party.
Brené Brown’s seminal work Daring Greatly starts with a recap on her own opening lines to a newly appointed therapist. Dr Brown was at the time doing a PhD in shame and vulnerability, and she started her first session by saying, “I hate uncertainty. I hate not knowing.”
As I listened to the Daring Greatly audiobook these words became imbued with a strange, India rubber ball quality, causing them to bounce about in my stomach for a bit. As regular dear readers already know, I don’t believe in coincidences. Which is why I’m not at all surprised by the sudden appearance-in-my-path of Dr Brown’s reference to uncertainty (and her well-documented aversion to it) when, once again, I find myself straddling the known and the unknown on this continuing Big Breast Adventure.
Yes folks, it’s my anniversary. On 17 December three years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I didn’t dare think too much further ahead than the next treatment hurdle, which in my case was a mastectomy two days after diagnosis. Oddly enough, the 17th December in 2016 falls on a Saturday – Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life Day in Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. A little spiritual tingle is travelling up my spine right now because it was after I came home from the hospital that I started writing my blogpost on that 7th Law, a post I’d been putting off for over a year as I came to terms with my own mid-life crisis, for want of a better description. That post led to the Big Breast Adventure series and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history. It seems fitting on this day of reflection (for me at least) to reprise my Law 7 – Purpose in Life post as a reminder to myself (more than anyone else) that time does indeed march on and finding one’s purpose continues to be a ‘work in progress’.
Happy anniversary to me! I’ve just celebrated one year of taking a daily dose of tamoxifen and I can attest (smiling through gritted teeth) that the side effects are well set in and do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon. Yeah, yeah – I know this drug is protecting me from a relapse in my cancer but as I found with chemo, the side effects of tamoxifen seem to work counter to the whole process of getting well – in psychological terms for me at least.