While chatting on facebook with a former student of mine Paul, I found myself quoting from the Disney cartoon, “Finding Nemo”. Remember when the sharks are in “fish-eating rehabilitation program” to try to re-train themselves to consider fish as friends? It was an intense moment for the sharks no doubt. In the end, the sharks had to be true to their own nature and failed to transition to non-fish eaters. I feel like I am in the same sort of mental rehab. I am trying to transition, on this glorious fall Thanks-giving day, from thinking about my ensuing chemo treatment as my friend, not my enemy. I can say the words and I can walk the walk – but when it comes right down to it – I just have a hard time willingly going to a place where I am happy to be poisoned. There, I said it. I don’t want to go! Like the shark – I feel compelled to be true to my own nature. Hence the dichotomy and the struggle. I know the chemo could save my life – at the same time I know it is killing parts of me.
Books I have read and individuals I have spoken with all sing the same tune: you must stay positive. You must be happy and let go of the psychological toxins in your life. You must eat well, sleep well, think well. Then, you will have a much better chance at being well. I know, I know, I know. My blood is red and no matter how much I can think about it as being more than red – it is still red. As my former student Paul advised me, “After all we say and all we do, we are still only what will be.”.
The problem is – I need to be more. I need to be better. I need to be strong.
I have such a large community of support and I am so incredibly grateful for that. The individual messages I get are so kind and generous of spirit. I COUNT on those messages from those who read this blog and those who are on facebook. Who would have thought that these social media tools could be so effective in helping lift someone from the depths of despair to the clouds?
I seriously marvel at the possibilities of social media. I don’t get out much anymore as my immune system is so compromised and I need to stay healthy. People need to communicate. The need is so great that we find alternative ways to do so if face-to-face is not possible. But I digress.
Fish are friends, has become my new mantra. Anyone who has not read this post will think me odd, no doubt.
I think the journey that Nemo’s father took in Finding Nemo may just well turn out to symbolize my own. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” was the line I remember best from Dory. How totally important it is to keep swimming. And it is as simple as that. I have to keep swimming.
Poor old Marlin faced so many challenges along the way to find his son… but he just kept going. Talk about tenacity, resilience, courage. He felt the fear and acted anyway. That is what I need to do. Okay I’ll admit I am afraid. But, I’m more afraid of not acting than I am of acting.
My emotions are roller-coastering right now. I can’t believe I am spending so much time thinking of the lessons I have learned in a Disney movie! Fish are friends. Chemo is my friend. That which doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger, right? Hmmm. Yes. Fish are friends.
On this wonderful, sunny, Thanks-giving day… I am thankful to all of you who, like the characters who helped guide Marlin to find his son, have guided me along my path to healing for helping guide me to health, strength, and courage. It is because of you that I am able to just keep swimming. Thank-you.