Ok, so that may have been a slight exaggeration. I did however receive an email this morning from what I can only describe as an earth angel, who gave me the encouragement and support I needed, just at the right time. I was in the mind set that I had written my last blog, until this morning when I received an emailed kick up the bum in the nicest possible way.
I haven't written a blog in a few weeks, I went away on holiday to Spain and usually I manage to blog from there most happily but this time I found that I just couldn't. I haven't been able to find the words I suppose is the easiest way to put it.
Whilst on holiday I had a very unexpected episode, that was confirmed by a doctor in Spain to be an anxiety attack. I have never in my life suffered with anxiety or depression. I mean I've been anxious, very anxious but this was something very different. So it's really taken the wind out of my sails. I'm over the initial attack for the most part. But I think I'm just in shock as to what on earth happened. It was absolutely awful, I felt odd for about 4 days building up, getting slightly worse each day. My heart felt like it was beating far too fast and going to burst out my chest, I felt like I was struggling to catch my breath and then to top it off I got a shooting pain down my left arm. The doctor reassured me I was fine and that it was anxiety, she listened to my heart (offered me to hear it too), she was really very sweet and kind. But I just couldn't understand what the hell happened?
And then it hit me - I'm human! That's all.
There has been quite a lot of tragedy going on around us in the build up to it. Not least our own personal experiences but that of my friends and loved ones too. Weirdly, I think the catalyst was probably when my oncologist signed me off after 7 years of checkups and tests. Probably sounds like the complete opposite of what I should have felt, and yes, I agree that being signed off was an incredibly positive feeling, I am beyond lucky and very very grateful that I got this outcome and that my Son got this outcome too.
But at the same time it felt like my safety net has been taken from under me, I felt/feel guilty for getting this outcome when friends and family haven't been so lucky and overwhelmed by a mixture of so many different emotions and feelings that I think it just triggered a fight or flight response deep in my mind that bubbled right up to the surface.
It's actually making me feel a bit odd again writing this down. But I know it's all ok. After I saw the doctor Chris took me out for the day. Away from our house and occupied my mind. When we got back to the villa that night Chris handed me a book that he'd brought to read on holiday, a book on meditation. He fortuitously packed it to read himself but it came in very handy I can tell you. I don't like taking drugs for any reason, I've taken enough to last a lifetime in the past, so my preference with this situation is to read, learn and grow myself better. (I appreciate that's not always possible for whatever reason but for me personally quieting my rushing mind with meditation is how I intend to fix me, that and exercise.)
Another thought as to why this occurred was that in the past, on a stressful day I'd come home to a glass of wine or two...come to that I'd do that on a good day too ;) but as I haven't touched a drop in the last 7 months I guess my brain has had to face all life has to throw at it stone cold sober. Its an interesting experience that for sure :)
Thankfully I have lots of wonderful friends who really helped me while I was away, chatting to me, giving me something to think about (I spent a lot of time googling properties for sale in Spain for a friend. One of my most favourite hobbies is virtually looking round people's houses :) I'm so very very nosey!). Most of my friends had no idea they were actually helping or that I even needed help, I only told 4 people about the anxiety attack, not through embarrassment, shame or the famous British stiff upper lip or anything like that. I just wanted to sort myself out quietly, which for the most part I have.
I like to find things to be grateful for everyday, in everything I do and weirdly I'm grateful that it was a panic/anxiety attack rather than the heart attack I thought I was having.
I'm a pretty hardy little thing. This blip, like all the others I've faced will not drag me down. I can't control any of it, I can only control how I deal with it. Why have I decided to spue my unfortunate incident to the world? Well, I started this blog to help people feel better about having a stoma. If I can pass on any experience that I have managed to come out stronger, no matter what it is I just felt it was the right thing to do. No one should live afraid of any experince. No one should feel alone. Speak up and reach out to get help if you need to. Life's too short. x