Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
On my last visit to my oncologist, I asked her if my condition qualified to be called a disability. And whilst the question may sound weird. I had to know. She asked me why I kept asking her the same question even though I had the answer right in front of me. The truth is that I was in denial. And she told me as much. Because I could not get myself to accept the sudden changes in my body.
Along with the many other battles, I was fighting at that time. I saw it fit for me to at least take one burden off my shoulder by turning a blind eye to what was happening in and around me. And in doing so, I thought I was helping myself. I thought I was being optimistic and hopeful – which in part, I was, but it was not helping me either.
My oncologist told me that until I accepted that I no longer had the same physical abilities as I used to encompass pre-cancer diagnosis. I was going to find it hard and more complicated to heal. Since that conversation, these were the points I took with me that have been very helpful in my journey of healing emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
Acceptance is the first step to healing
- To me, acceptance meant giving in to the pain and the past. It allows you to process the current situation and to grieve. There is an ultimate value in facing your problems head-on rather than avoiding them. When you accept the situation at hand. It becomes easier to be in charge and therefore to deal with it on your terms.
- To help you navigate through the emotional upheavals that your disability may have caused, you may want to speak to someone you trust or seek professional help.
It all starts in the mind
- I learned this while reading one of the best-selling books, The Secret – by Rhonda Byrnes. On the secret to health chapter, it talks about how focusing on perfect health is something that anyone can do despite what may be happening on the outside. One particular line sums this up best where the author writes; “Disease is held in the body by thought, by observation of the illness, and by giving the illness attention.”.
There is always an alternative
- If you cannot walk by yourself, create a tool to help you through. Find a new purpose, a new route, and start all over again if need be.
Be kind to yourself and others
- I often found myself pushing everyone I loved away. My reason for this trend was that they will never understand the pain and trauma I was going through.
- What I realized was that unless I opened-up about my emotional and physical pain. It would only intoxicate me and the consequences of that are bitterness towards myself and others.
- Although talking about my journey with cancer and the sudden disability is still not easy for me. I have found other ways to accommodate my loved ones in my journey. They might not understand or feel my pain, but they are trying to cope with my health issues just as I am.
I once read some words of wisdom by an unknown writer that says, “Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” Embrace your scars and allow yourself to move on from anything that threatens your capabilities to live fully.