One hundred and thirty two days since being told that my chances of growing old with my husband, seeing my son graduate from University, have children… have been reduced to zero. One hundred and thirty two days since being diagnosed with metastatic Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, palliative.
One hundred and thirty one days since I enrolled on a holistic path – conventional, natural and spiritual – to try and slow down the progress of this agressive cancer while maintaining some semblance of quality of life. Since embarking on the cancer rollercoaster. Since falling and rising, falling and rising. Saying the word cancer over and over again without realising that everytime the word leaves my mouth it gets easier to say. It is now a part of my daily vocabulary as easy as saying the names of my husband and son. I have watched others struggle with the word, refuse to say it and be perplexed at the ease with which I seem to approach this disease. Struggling to find their own words to understand their own pain and sense of loss, to deal with their feeling of helplessness.
To watch and to not intervene.
To watch and to not help.
To find their own way of contributing to my battle with this disease.
To observe, to hold space, to comfort and to just be.
One hundred and thirty two days to go from grieving for a lost future, to consciously accepting what is and realising that I still am. Which makes life sometimes pretty simple and straightforward and sometimes very complicated.
Yes, I know it all sounds like something out of every guru, diy, self-help book, the difference being this is not just talk coming from my head or from sitting under a tree, but from being given an expiration date and a “this is all that is left of your life” and a ‘all we can now do is try to improve your quality of life’ talk.
Appreciating how lucky I am to know how much time I have left and
to live from moment to moment,
to watch ordinary turn into extraordinary,
to go from powerlessness to being empowered with every step I take, every word I write, every act and deed of love I recieve,
to accept love and attention without feeling the need to requite,
to go from deep sorrow and a deep sense of loss to a great sense of gratitude and vice versa,
to never knowing what each day will bring,
to freeing myself from all wordly expectations and appearances,
to expect the unexpected.
Ninety-seven days since the primary tumor has been removed with clean margins.
Forty-nine days since I started chemotherapy, doxorubicin, the red devil. I am now halfway through my treatment.
Sixteen days since Ramadan commenced. Over the past years fasting brought me back to the core of my being, to my own voice, to a real connection with that which is larger than me. In some way fasting was the time to declutter. Declutter my head, my heart, my home, my actions. This year I cannot take part in Ramadan.
Come to think of it, since I have been confronted with cancer I have been doing the same: fasting, decluttering.
It started out as not wanting to have my husband and son wade through my personal stuff and not know where to start and what to do with it. I had this great urge to take control of my life. At least that which I can control: the stuff I have accumulated in the course of my life. I have always been one for spring cleaning and have no trouble getting rid of the irrelevant and unnecessary.
Still there is always more you can do especially when you are told that you probably have two more years to live. A great part of which I will probably be too ill to do any kind of cleaning, much less seasonal cleaning and decluttering. So no time to start like right now.
My declutter list?
1. Stick to work that brings joy and purpose and relinquish that which does’nt. Done!
> Closed my coach practice – Impact Stories – and finding joy in establishing our vacation rental business Steal Away.
> My online coach academy, with all ready to go tech, is now up for sale. Call me if you are interested.
> Our brand new sustainable and luxurious Steal Tiny Villa made from steel containers is up for sale. Look it up on ‘marktplaats’.
> Our sustainable Wooden Tiny Villa is available as vacation rental from May 9th 2022.
> Started shamelessly documenting my journey with my cancer on www.waheeda.nl. Purpose? To help me understand this surreal ride I am on. To help others to tell their story. To leave something behind. To let it be of meaning.
2. Declutter relationships. See them for what they are. No sugar coating. A work in progress. Which means:
> Be grateful for those who stand up, accept those who disappear into the shadows.
> Break with toxic patterns in my family.
> Be aware of and hold my position.
3. Declutter (sentimental) personal belongings.
> Went through 38 years of letters and cards and thus memories that have shaped my life. Some ended up in categorised envelopes and others respectfully in the bin.
> Sorted photos but this is a huge project with loads of stories I want to share with my son. So also a work in progress.
> Categorise jewelry to avoid shitty situations after death.
> Give away what I can give away now, like make-up. facial products….
4. Declutter financial and legal obligations. A work in progress which is tied in with the first item on my list: my work.
5. Declutter final wishes and last will. Almost done.
6. Declutter problems. If I wait long enough they seem to disappear. Knowing that you are palliative deflates problems.
7. Declutter words. No more bullshit stories. Telling it like it is because there is just no time to lose.
8. Decluttering how I feed my body and thoughts. Natural, pure and simple. Banning all processed food and sugars. Banning all toxic thoughts. Giving the cancer nothing to feed on. There is research to back this up but this is also how I have tried to live my life and now even moreso. Allowing the necessary toxics into my body because I need big guns to fight this kind of aggressiveness. Consciously. My path is documented here on this website.
What I have learnt and am still learning?
The only thing that matters are the relationships you have.
This is my life and my time to live and spend on my terms. If not now then when?
Really live every day as if it is my last. In my case that is the reality.
Everything I have collected in my life will be left behind. The most important being memories. The less important being possessions.
My resolutions for the coming week?
Staying in control of what happens in my life and with my body.
How about you? What do you have to declutter?
Encouraging you to gain your own wisdom en live the life you want in spite of your disease, distress or dragons.