I’ve been meaning to make some time to write, but it’s been busy around here! 2022 feels a bit more like the pre-pandemic rat race, and I’m trying my hardest to stay present through the madness. Recently, most of my focus has been on treating patients, and though the days can be long, the weeks fly by and I’m not totally sure how it’s already nearing the end of June.
To describe a typical day at work, I usually see about 7-8 patients. I get to help people who have:
- bladder issues (incontinence, overactive bladder, bladder pain)
- bowel issues (constipation, fecal incontinence)
- pelvic pain (including endometriosis, vaginismus, or vulvodynia)
- conditions associated with pregnancy or postpartum
- musculoskeletal, neurologic, or lymphatic conditions after breast and prostate cancer
- dizziness/vertigo or other vestibular conditions
Did you know physical therapists can treat those conditions?! Now you know!
Despite being over 18 months out of treatment, I’m still doing a lot of healing. Some of the things I focus on include:
- Meditation/EFT Tapping
- Infrared Sauna
- Spending time outside
- Connecting with friends
- Connecting with other survivors
- Having fun!
Because I feel like I lost a lot of strength during treatment and during the pandemic, I recently joined a 6-week women’s empowerment strength training program run by a friend that I met through a cancer fundraiser way back in 2020 (but this is the first time we’ve really met in person – isn’t that crazy!). My one fitness goal this year is to get really strong again! I also plan to participate in a 12-week exercise study run through University of Hawaii and Rehabilitation of the Pacific later this year.
Overall, things are going well. I will have some annual screening scans at the end of July. Justin and I have plans to see Jack Johnson in concert shortly after (obviously to celebrate clear scan results). Even though I’m “pretty far out,” the scanxiety still gets me so I do appreciate prayers for squeaky clean pictures when the time comes.
A few weeks ago, I’d been feeling a bit down. My body felt achy and I had little motivation. There were actually several days when I had to nap after work beause I was just exhausted. I recognized that this was unusual for me.
First, I realized that much of the overwhelm I’d been feeling was partially related to some PTSD. Trauma memories can be stored in the body and can manifest as pain and emotional distress. I finally realized that June 9 was actually 2 years from the day when I had my first chemo. So, even though I wasn’t fully aware of that “cancer-versary” this year, my body remembered. It sounds wild, I know, but I promise there’s a bunch of research to support it. If you want to learn more I suggest reading The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, MD.
Second, I had my thyroid re-tested recently and my levels were way off. I adjusted the dose of my medication and it’s been a game changer! I feel significantly better in terms of energy so I’m hoping it will stay stable. If you don’t know, the thyroid gland is a small gland in the front of the neck that regulates thyroid hormones which maintain the body’s metabolism and affect every body system including the brain, eyes, skin/hair/nails, GI system, stress response, etc. etc. etc. It’s a tiny little organ with a very big job!
So all that to say that I really am still healing. I don’t see it as a finite process. I’m not following a well-illumined path forward, but rather zigzagging through the woods trying to find a clearing. There are ups and downs, but mostly all is shifting toward wellness.
I do have some plans to sit down and cut out time to blog more regularly. I love sharing information with everyone and hope it can help others in their own healing, too. If there’s anything you’d like to learn more about in terms of cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, pelvic floor rehab…. send your requests my way!