Self-care and setbacks

I’m staying at a friends place, watching her dog (who is Cali’s bestie). It has been nice to be a little bit away from the chaos and I’ve been sleeping really well.

Making coffee the other day I had a bit of a mishap. My forearm when over the steam of the kettle and I got a burn. It is not a bad burn -but it is in the arm that is healing. I notice the next day that the arm has started to swell – ugg. Fortunately, I have compression sleeves and already had an appointment booked to see my physiotherapist who also does lymphatic massage. Fortunately, she took measurements before surgery, so we could see how things had changed. The swelling isn’t horrible, but it definitely is present. Ugg.

That brings me to self-care, and reminding myself that I need to get back into the pool. The pool is the best thing for lymphedema – it provides compression while you exercise. I can’t really “swim” right now because my right arm isn’t strong enough.

So this morning, when I woke up early, I checked the pool schedule. I had half an hour before the pool first opened – a perfect time to go where it isn’t at all busy. After walking down the ramp into the pool, I was pleasantly surprised that I could move along in the pool using my arms – just not trusting going into deep water. We will see how the arm feels later, but it definitely brought the swelling down. I visibly checked before getting in, and then afterwards. It is amazing the difference it makes.

I am reminded that I need to do more self-care – and not just swimming. After the swim, I took the dogs for a walk around the pond. It is a lovely walk where you feel like you are in a forest with all the trees around you. The smells and the sounds provide healing energy – and the dogs don’t mind the walk either!

There is so much happening with Treehouse Village – so much critical stuff that it is easy to get swept up into the crisis of the day. If you want to see a nice story about Treehouse, CBC did a five minute piece about it. We are a resilient community who have jumped through many hurdles, so it is truly amazing to see it all come together. It is still very much a construction site, but we have conditional occupancy on three of the four residential buildings. It is a time when we are starting to feel like the end is actually in site.

We have been so involved in it, that it is hard to step away and take a break – especially when everything feels so critical.

But then cancer has a way of reminding you. It is weird, that I don’t have the clarity of what is important the same way I did the first time I had cancer. The first time, it was easy to just let go of things. I could let go of things that were dragging me down, and focus on things that would help me through it. I guess I don’t feel like I have as much dragging me down, such that I haven’t had that same need to just let things go.

Last time self-care involved going for a lot of walks. This time it involves beach trips so that my dog can run, but also, time spent on my new home – painting, building drawers for the kitchen cabinets – whatever I can do to help make it be my new home. We are hoping to move in before the end of October. There is still lots of work to do to make it livable. Fortunately, we have a nice place to stay until the of the month (and another home if we need it).

What do you do for self-care? How often do you do it?

  • Becky

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