Monday, July 22, 2013

The Balancing Act

It was only a few months ago that I was directed to a blog post that had been written about me. In that post the blogger said I need to move on with my life and stop writing about my experience. I needed to stop trying to get attention for something that happened years ago. I needed to move "the fu*k on" according to this fellow blogger. I didn't write about the post then because the blog was an immature example of the internet bullying that many of us have sadly experienced. However, I thought back to her post this weekend when I realized how out of the loop I am sometimes in the melanoma community.

While I try to update this blog from time to time I am much better these days at quickly uploading the latest melanoma article or a quote that hits home for me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I sometimes take a break from reading fellow warriors blogs. I don't always check my blog email the very next day. There are times I try to take a full fledged break--it doesn't last long--from Facebook because I need to live my life melanoma free for a while. It does not mean that I don't care about my fellow warriors or don't want to participate in all things melanoma; however, it takes an emotional toll to be too consumed every single day. This sounds incredibly selfish but I've had to be picky when it comes to what groups and events I want to be a part of because when I'm in, I'm fully in, and all of my emotions become invested. 

This isn't always a good thing for me.

I guess what hurt me the most about the post is that there was a time I was fully consumed by melanoma! Every single day I was writing about it. Every single day I was sharing my deepest fears with each and every melanoma warrior who would listen. Every single day I was living in fear instead of living. It took time, tears, encouragement and true effort to find balance.

Yet, sometimes I don't get the balance right. 

This weekend when I heard unwanted news about a dear friend from another friend, I realized maybe I've been too consumed by my own personal life these days. I have been so busy being a  live-in-soon-to-be-wife, a 50% full-time soon-to-be step mom, and a full time employee that I haven't been around enough to cheer on my friends. I felt like a Mole Mate failure.

There is no guidebook on how to balance life & cancer. I've just had to wing it, and sometimes, no matter which extreme I take, I fail.

How have you found balance in your life?



The Preppy Student said...

getting the balance right is something I feel most people struggle with. Sounds like your doing an amazing job even though it doesnt always feel that way! Have a happy Monday and be sure to check out my newest purchase!

Anonymous said...

I so understand I was absorbed for three years and stuck in worrying and reading every blot about melenoma..not living my life fearful every moment..I had to pull away a bit and gather my situation and not hear every story

Anonymous said...

It doesn't sound at all like failure. It sounds like balance. Just not from your perspective. You just need to look at a larger whole and then you'll see the balance.
When my son was a toddler, there were days he'd hardly eat. Then other days he'd eat constantly. But it wasn't like a every other day kind of thing so all that stood out was the not eating. His pediatrician said to look at a whole week. If he seemed to eat a normal amout of food throughout the week, even if it was only 3-4 days of tat week, then we are good to go you just have to shift perspective. No one can fault you for living your life. And no one can fault you for bringing awareness to an awful disease. It'll all balance out.......glad life is treating you well!

Anonymous said...

Balance is something we all struggle with even if we aren't fighting the battle. My Dad is stage IV and his philosophy is; live each day to the fullest and stay positive. Negative energy is a waste of energy. He tends not to dwell on his cancer, focusing on living. As a Mom of a cancer survivor advised me, we go through phases where we are trying to find our "normal". Each step of the way, there becomes a new "normal" for us to adjust to. Maybe you are just living your life. Finding and enjoying and living your new normal. I started reading your blog over a year ago and I just want to say that you are truly an inspiration regardless of what you are writing about. Thank you.

Melissa said...

I really can't understand why someone would take the time to write a blog post about why someone else shouldn't be blows my mind. First of all, and probably most importantly, melanoma or any cancer never ends. I am in the midst of celebrating my 1 year "cancerversary" (which I really need to blog about!) and people are asking me, "so, you're all healed up now?" and the answer is, I'll never know if/when it will come back, until it happens. Live with that knowledge and then tell someone to get over it! My second issue with it is that your blog is your space. You don't force anyone to read it, it's like a diary that you share with others, if they choose to take part. I'm sure I could find a lot of blogs out there that I would think are silly, pointless, or even offensive, but it's certainly not my business to go around seeking them out, reading them and getting annoyed enough to write about how bad they are. But you know, as melanoma survivors, maybe we just realize how much life there is out there to live, and how dumb it is go to around judging what others do!

Balance takes time, and we all have to find it in our own way. I think I've done alright, but definitely not perfect, and I definitely have unbalanced days!

And thank you for blogging because it helped inspire me to start my own blog :)When my melanoma advanced to stage 3, I felt lost and alone, and finding all these blogs, these personal stories of living and dealing with melanoma made me feel like I wasn't alone anymore and it gave me hope. So a big mean-face-tongue-sticking-out to whatever moron wrote about you :)

Lisa (@PixelatedMama) said...

Mental hurdles are the hardest part for me. I had an early stage melanoma -- there was no big treatment. Outpatient surgery, bam, done. Physically it wasn't a big deal, but mentally it still is. Over two years later! So, I still don't know how to find balance.

I read an article yesterday that said maybe people should stop thinking about "balance" and start accepting "tilting." That it's not a perfect balancing act -- standing in the middle, equally balancing all parts. Instead, we tilt toward what is needed at the time.

So, you're not a failure. Maybe you weren't immersed in the community because you felt other parts of your life needed attention. But I bet when you heard your friend's news, you tilted your attention?

You're not failing at balance, you're winning at tilting :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I just don't understand why people are so hateful. Who are they to judge anyone. I'm sorry, but this really bothers me. I consider you a great inspiration. I also understand balance is important. Ugh....Keep doing what you're doing. You're great!!!

Anonymous said...

I was recently (April) diagnosed with Stage 1a on my left hip and I am still trying to find balance and my new "normal." You are an inspiration so please keep on blogging. I appreicate you and look foward to your posts!

Kisma said...

There are people out there that simple need to throw rocks because they themselves are hurting and have no idea what to do. Doesn't make it right or fair, but I believe you are doing a wonderful job of balancing what is a very busy, full and happy life given all you have had to go thru at such a young age. There isn't a rule on how to balance cancer and life, we just make it work. Don't listen to them. I had someone send me a side note on my blog about the same thing- and I just ignore them because my guess is they have nothing better to do then bug society.

Anonymous said...

Chelsea, I have followed you on Facebook and on Twitter since my Stage 4 Metastatic Malignant Melanoma diagnosis. You are a true inspiration to me and the Melanoma community as a whole. It's easy for other people to judge...but shame on them. I look in the mirror everyday seeing a mother, Nurse, student and compassionate woman....then I look at the 13 inch scar on my chest and I'm reminded I have a currently incurable form of cancer lurking in my body, not knowing when or if I'll have to battle it again. I live for 3 months...until the next scan. Every 3 months I wonder....I'm scared, I pray. This diagnosis IS life changing, and you've managed it with grace and true inspiration. Kudos to you!! ~~Tina Baldwin. (((((Hugs)))))))

Unknown said...

I admire you for all that you are able to do- look at all those "roles" you listed about yourself. I think that it's important to be involved in this melanoma thing- it's important to stay informed. It can be consuming, no matter what the level of involvement. I have heard the same from others in my life, since mine was early- Stage 1- and I needed no follow up after surgery. But, I need more. I need to keep connected to this community. If it weren't for people like you, many of us wouldn't have a connection and I wouldn't be learning from everyone's stories. You are more than balanced; you are rockin' this thing!