Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny.
Andre Maurois

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve had to erase old habits and devise new ones that would power me through days and weeks of radiation treatments.  These habits would help me face adversity with courage and grace.   Despite the unexpected detour in life, I wanted to reassure my husband, son, friends, and family that I could overcome life’s challenges and take confident steps towards the future.  So here’s what I did:

9:00 a.m.–Begin the day with several cups of hot tea–PG tips, of course.

Walden Mug

Walden Mug

10:00 a.m.–Drive to the hospital in Boston, park the car, and pick up a quick cup of Dunkin Donuts.  Then, head downstairs to the Radiation Oncology Department.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

11 a.m. and throughout the day–Make new friends and renew old ones. Find solidarity and strength in our humanity and vulnerability.

A friendly face

A friendly face

2:00 p.m.–After lunch, rest for a few hours.  Savor the peace and tranquility.

Rest in the Afternoons

Rest in the Afternoons

4:00 p.m.–Take a walk in nature.

Afternoon Walk

Late Afternoon Walk

8:00 p.m.–Indulge as often as needed in chocolate and ice cream.  Simple delights are soothing–if eaten wisely and in moderation.

Enjoying a slice of chocolate cake at Papa Razzi, Newbury Street

Enjoying a slice of chocolate cake at Papa Razzi, Newbury Street

10:00 p.m.–Read and reflect before going to sleep.  Find comfort in the wisdom of others.  On the nights when your patience is low, watch a silly TV show or movie.  Laugh a lot and remember not to take your predicament too seriously.

Write, Reflect

Write, Reflect

These habits helped shape my experience here in Boston and have given me moments of great joy.   I’m hoping that these new habits will stay with me once I finish my treatments and return home.   Do you have any of these habits?  If so, which ones?

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22 replies »

  1. I don’t have much to say about your habits or mine right now, just that I love your ATTITUDE and OUTLOOK that comes through in this post. I wish you the best with your treatments.

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    • Thanks so much, Likeitiz! I am hoping for exactly that too. It has been an amazing journey–and filled with more happiness and inspiration from more courageous people than I had ever anticipated.

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  2. Hi Gaurab. Thanks for your comments! The desk is a replica of the one Thoreau used at Walden Pond. That’s where I took the shot. Actually, my desk is near the window, too–but it’s a lot bigger than Thoreau’s and has a much more comfortable chair!

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  3. Point – Counterpoint :
    It’s so interesting how different people have different approaches to managing adversity.
    When I was going through this, I viewed the treatment time as another appointment in the workday. When finished with the session, I’d get off the table, walk down the very long hallway, and go to my next meeting. When I was having Chemo, I would schedule the sessions for about 2 pm, so that I would be at work most of the day. By including the treatments on my daily ‘to-do list’, I was managing the cancer as though it was another problem in the day that had to be confronted and resolved. It never occurred to me to take the time to reflect and ponder the impact that this vile and insidious disease had on my life and my loved ones. I kept myself in a whirlwind of people and activity and was very annoyed by those who cared but viewed me as a ‘victim’. I had to bite my cynical tongue when people would ask if the diagnosis made me see life in a different way and if I now cherished each moment more intensely (I didn’t and haven’t).
    Your descriptions make me picture someone who has entered the bullring alone, without the red cape, ready to fight the raging bull by staring him directly in the eye and daring him to move forward and, in the end, having him back away cringing and running to the other side of the ring.
    I know that in retrospect you will come to love the time you had to confront your cancer consciously, thoughtfully and graciously. I’m on the sidelines cheering you on.

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    • Wonderful thoughts, Maureen. It is so interesting how we all approach this differently. This is a common theme I’m discovering as I enter this world of treatment. We all end up doing what we need to do and what’s right for us.

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  4. A wonderful post and a special response to the challenge. It seems you couldn’t be doing a better job of keeping sane in an insane situation. Oh, is that chocolate cake tasty looking! I’m with you on that one. And all the others, too!

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