Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MY FEET IN THE SAND: Therapy! Run Forrest Run!

It was a Sunday afternoon.  I was too weak to attend church and too lethargic to attend online.  Injeel attended on our behalf and was off to the library to hit the books once again.

On this day, nothing satisfied me.  I had my one good cup of coffee, courtesy of my Keurig--the greatest invention since sliced bread.  I had some juice and a lingonberry scone.  I clicked on the television, found Super Soul Sunday on Own, switched to an old movie, then a sitcom in syndication.  Nothing worked.

I sat on the couch with my feet to the side.  Suddenly a 10-foot wave overcame me and I looked at my meds.  For longer than a moment, I thought I could take all of them and end this.  Sure everyone would be sad but THIS, the Big C had started to get to me.  Soon it will be a year of me dealing with Breast Cancer and I was tired.

I allowed for the moment to last about an hour longer, to see if it was just a wave, a fleeting moment.  When I recognized the moment was not to pass--I called Injeel.  He had just settled in at the library.  "You have to come home now...."  "Now?"  He answered.  "Now."  I repeated.  He didn't ask any other questions.  He'd heard something in my voice that I didn't have to explain.

In record time, Injeel came through the door.  By now I was in tears.  "I don't feel well....I feel like I could do something to myself to end this."  I explained through dry heaving.  "You think it's time you go see Nikki?"  He asked.  I nodded. 

I'd met Nikki and Suzanne during Multi-Clinic, an approach UCLA Santa Monica Breast team uses when tackling the treatment of Cancer.  You meet every doctor involved in your well being from head to toe.  Nikki, I would later find out was a USC Social Work intern specializing in therapy.  This was sometime in April and I'd first met her in September.  She had visited me at the Infusion Center twice. I remembered her instruction, "....If you ever need me..." 

Injeel studied from home the rest of the day, keeping a watchful eye over me.  I am grateful for my husband.

That Monday morning I was on the horn with Nikki.  I told her that yesterday was a really bad day and I was afraid a wave had overcome me that I couldn't shake.  I feared I would do something to hurt myself and I didn't feel in control. 

Nikki had me come in the next day.  I had to fight myself to let my guard down and allow me to be the real me: scared, exhausted, angry and hopeless. Over the weeks I discovered that my representative had taken over my life long before Cancer and that my voice had been suppressed. 

Over more weeks I found that my severe insomnia began to affect me chemically.  While in therapy it was suggested that I meet with the Psychiatrist.  I did.  She offered meds designed to help me sleep.  I took it once during an extreme case but didn't like the way I felt the next day.  So I nixed playing with the dosage and resorted to some less narcotic over the counter remedies, Advil PM etc....

I continued in therapy with Nikki until her tenure ended.  I was then referred to Lorelei whom I love just as much and continue to see.

My point is Therapy comes with various stigmas among many ethnic communities including mine.  When faced with this challenge and at a moment when I could have made a debilitating choice--I chose life.  I continue to choose life and use therapy as one of my greatest tools to aid me in that choice. 

Whatever your circumstances, don't ever be afraid to talk to someone.  Don't allow stubbornness and fear to block you from breakthroughs awaiting you on the other side of a dark door.  Sure you may encounter nay-sayers but it is not about them, it is about you.  Therapy works if you work it.  God created therapists too, just like HE created you.


  1. Thanks for you honest transparency, Toni. I'm passing your teaching on as encouragement for our 30 yr. Old handsome, strong, wealthy friend who is dealing with his spinal cord injury. He's on a ventilator. He dove into a shallow pool. He was moved to Kessler today. May Father be glorified by your writings during this trial. Romans 8.28
    Praying for your return to United soon. Xo

  2. Thanks for sharing. You inspire me every time I read your posts. Hope all is well. Xoxoxo

  3. Dawn Marie ScanlonJuly 24, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Toni u r an amazing woman

  4. Maryam Myika DayJuly 24, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Keep going you are amazing and you CAN do this!

  5. I would love to change the nomenclature from therapist to "Life Coach." The stigma for many cultures is the word "therapy" ..means that something is wrong or needs adjustment. The term "Life Coach" simply means that once you choose life you need some tips and tricks to help live your life to the fullest capacity! We all could use a "Life Coach!"

  6. Thank You for your honesty. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.