Thoughts are not facts

Hello friends

I hope you are all keeping healthy and happy.

I haven’t posted on my blog again for ages, I’m not sure why but it just hasn’t felt right for me to do so.

The truth is that I am still feeling somewhat out of kilter and discombobulated (isn’t that a fabulous word)?  Physically I feel pretty good and,  as people keep telling me, I look ‘really well’ but the truth is my head is in a mess.  Maybe I haven’t  posted because I don’t want to sound miserable and I don’t want or need sympathy, it’s just the way things are at the moment.  It’s no great shakes just something I need to work through.

I really thought that once I had finished all the treatment and started to feel better physically everything would be just hunky dory and ‘back to normal’ in no time at all, but that’s not how things are. Right now I feel like I don’t know where I am and half the time I’m not even sure who I am.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  But that’s the nearest I can get to describing this feeling of being lost.

I am pretty emotional too and I can’t seem to keep myself on an even keel.  Sometimes I am sinking into depression for no reason that I can think of.  I don’t mean the crippling “can’t even get out of bed” type of depression, but the just the sensation of everything being flat and uninteresting.  I know it will pass and it does, but when it happens I don’t really want to have to interact with other people, and that’s tricky when I have to go to work and help to sort out other people’s problems.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer the nurse told me that it was going to change me.  I had no idea what she was talking about and I think I just dismissed it. BUT now I completely understand what she meant, it’s just that I can’t really explain it to you.

I think partly it is down to confidence (or lack of it), having 8 months of treatment has certainly bashed my self esteem a bit, and I don’t feel that confident in my ability to do things as well as I used to.  There is also the uncertainty as to whether the cancer will come back or not. I always try not to worry about bad things that ‘might’ happen, because in my experience they usually don’t and worrying about them is just a waste of time, besides if they do happen you just have to deal with them anyway.  I try not to worry, but I don’t always succeed.  I think probably the longer it goes with things being OK the more assured I will feel.

I am still being creative but for some reason at the moment I don’t feel like sharing what I’m working on, and I don’t know why that is either.  I’m working on my radiotherapy mask project, which is turning into something of fairly epic proportions!  It’s still not anything like I’ve imagined or planned it to be but I think I just have to go along with it.  Rather than me trying to shape the project I just need to let it guide me where it wants to go because it’s going to go that way anyway…

I am also working on another project with a bit more ‘depth’ to it and I probably won’t share that or much of it until it’s finished either (this one could take years). What I want to do is work through something, I’ve picked a theme and I’m just seeing what ideas come to me around that theme.  Then I am going to look at some other artists who I really like and see if and how I can use their work to influence my own art.  I’m hoping that this will help me progress and grow. It think it might also be my route for re-finding myself – the ‘where’ and ‘who’ I am. Wish me luck!

I’m back at work full time now, but because it’s such a struggle I am using up all my leave from last year so I can take breaks when it gets too much.  Like for example today I couldn’t face going in because I’ve had a really crappy weekend, with a very low mood, so I contacted my manager this morning and told him I needed to take emergency leave.  Fortunately for me he is an incredibly understanding and sympathetic person so that seemed to be OK.

T is still off work and having major problems with the cardio medication, but fortunately he finally got to see a GP who understood and between them they are working things out, it’s just taking a bl**dy long time!

I did eventually get around to writing to the local hospital to explain why I insisted on staying under the care of Southampton hospital when the radiotherapy treatment finished.  The feedback I gave included the good as well as the bad things I had experienced at the local hospital.  Last week I went in to meet up with the Specialist Nurse and her manager to discuss my rather long letter of feedback.  They seemed to take it all very seriously and were very apologetic, hopefully they will use it to make improvements to the service that people receive there.  I hope so anyway.

Two good things came out of it for me one is that I am now enrolled on a Surviving Cancer Information Programme (SKIP) which starts at the end of October and I think that will help me to cope better, and in the meantime I have been referred to a psychologist for support prior to the programme starting. So hopefully things will start to improve for me soon.  I think I could probably work things out by myself over time, but I am worried that I am messing things up at work and letting people down so I think I need a bit of support to get me through this tricky bit of fully getting back into the swing of things.

The page above (completed in May of this year) is from my small journal (6″ x 9″)  and below are the before and after penwork images.

Thoughts before and after penwork

Take good care of yourselves my lovelies

Big love from me

AJ xxx

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© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


23 thoughts on “Lost!

  1. It is good to “see” you. I am sorry to read that you are at a low ebb. I am sure that is to be expected given everything you have been through. I am sure it is part of the journey you are unfortunately on. I am glad your creative mojo has not left you while you are feeling down. I find art therapeutic as it takes me out of my head for a while. I hope you find it beneficial to you too.

    • Thank you Laura, I hope you are doing well. I’ve just been looking at your blog and your boys are adorable. What’s it like living in a household full of men?
      Yes art gets me through the bad times, just wish I had more time for it.
      Big love from me

      • I’m really glad art has been there as an outlet for expression and a distraction while you’ve been dealing with kicking cancer in the rump.

        Time is always the nemesis of creativity, isn’t it? It’s hard to get in the right frame of mind to immerse yourself in creativity when you are clock watching. I have that problem and also constantly multi-tasking. I make art at my kitchen table (we eat in the dining room) so I have a piece sitting there for days as I grab ten minutes to work on it while the potatoes boil or the carrots steam or whatever. Not the best approach really.

        Thanks for visiting my blog and for your compliments on my wee blokes. Life in a household full of men requires good bladder control and the patience to queue for the bathroom – even with three toilets. Ha ha! It’s fun.

    • Thanks Gretchen, it’s all ups and downs at the moment, but at least there are ups so I have to be grateful for that. I hope all is good with you and yours. Big love from me ❤

  2. I appreciate your honesty and the courage to share this with us. It’s an opportunity for all of us to send you our most uplifting thoughts and I believe there is a lot of power in that! Love your creative art journalling – so inspiring. I am sending you a whole bunch of “pink balloons” from across the ocean – just picture your most cherished dreams and aspiration floating in them, just waiting for the right moment to descend upon you.

  3. Hi Janette

    Once again your honest style of writing reveals the ordeal you have been through on your path of illness and then healing physically. You have done well to be back at work so soon after finishing treatment (which is evidence of your work ethic and commitment to others). The issues you have identified, such as loss of purpose and sense of who you are, will hopefully be understood through exploration with the psychologist, and by meeting with others in the survivors group. Sending you the biggest hug, (and one for T too). Hope the sun shines, and things will begin to look brighter.

    Lots of love, Sally-Ann

    • Thank you Sally-Ann, I hope you are a bit closer to being in your new home by now. Here we are still on the roller-coaster but at least it’s not boring,I just need to learn to recognise earlier when I need to stop and take a break (never was very good at that, but I will get better). Lots of love to you, Michael and Nick 🙂

  4. Please remember many of us are holding you and T up with prayer and all good thoughts; we’ve not met but sending love and hugs your way- from the desert southwest of USA

  5. Sending warm hugs Janette. I understand how you feel as I had gone through the same. I was in a roller coaster ride of emotions in the seven years that I had been into the category of a cancer patient. My doctor only called me a cancer survivor after seven long years (2014). And now that I will be facing another blood test tomorrow, the anxiety is difficult to manage. The only thing I could tell you is what you are doing now is the right one for you. You have been doing well for yourself, your family and your work. Your honesty with your feelings and what you perceive as something that needs help is already remarkable. Cheering for you.

  6. Just a note to say lots of love and prayers holding the high watch for you and T until you feel better. Love to you from the Arizona desert in US.

  7. Hi Janette,
    It’s a while since you wrote this but I’ve been busy with my dissertation and haven’t had time to visit. It sounds like everything is happening – your creativity, the Information Programme, the psychologist, and even the opportunity to get off your chest your distress at how it was at the local hospital. The fact that SKIP and psychological support is available at this stage in your treatment suggests that it’s all perfectly normal to be feeling as you do right now. It has all been a huge shock to the system, and I suppose for many months all your thoughts have been about getting through it and getting better. Now your thoughts turn to a whole load of other stuff.
    I hope you’re feeling more like your usual self by now. But if not – everything in its own time.
    Sending you healing hugs,
    Janice. x

  8. Hi!!!!

    I’m sorry I’ve arrived late after you’ve written the above. I do hope you feel better, and are feeling a little lighter now. I’ve had cancer, and yes, you see things with different eyes. Sending you loads of love, Cheryl X

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