I’m awakened by the soft melody of "Killing Me Softly" inside my waking nightmare. Not the original version by Roberta Flack but by a version that I’ve never heard while being awake. The sweetest kind of melody that repeatedly states, "killing me softly," over and over again.
I gently pry my eyes open, peep around the room, and shut them again ever so swiftly. I’m not fully awake nor am I deeply sleeping. So what do I do? I close my eyes tightly, praying that I fall back to sleep - without the soundtrack, of course - however, the desire to try to sleep has escaped me. At this point, it’s a lost cause. I’m forced to join the world quicker than I am ready to. A sigh loud as a lion’s roar emerges from my tired soul.
I’m now awake because my upstairs neighbor’s daughter couldn’t be bothered by rising from her chair to walk across the room. She would rather roll across the room in her chair on brick floors with sound effects loud enough to wake a hibernating bear.
Preparing for the day
So, I lie there in between two conflicting moods, "pissitivity" and a sense of "unbotheredness". I decide to allow the two moods to merge until I can get over myself. After all, there were two things that were totally unchangeable: number 1) she was never going to stop rolling across the damn floor like an inexperienced figure skater, and number 2) I wasn’t going to fall back asleep anytime soon.
So now that I’m fully awake and slightly annoyed I must begin to prepare for my day. However, the unfortunate thing about waking too soon out of deep sleep is that it can alter the trajectory for your entire day if you allow it to.
Thus, the rationale behind the soundtrack of "Killing Me Softly" becomes much clearer now. The lack of sleep and being awakened abruptly was killing me softly. Not killing me softly like a slow death but killing me softly regarding my emotional state. It was, in a sense, killing my vibe.
Here’s the thing about choice: You get to choose your mental state regardless of what happens in your life. You’re the captain of your ship and you get the power to steer it any way you chose to. Many shipwrecks happen because the steering of the ship is often given over to inexperienced people. People who could care less about the safety of others.
Now, I rather doubt that the careless teenager above my head is even conscious of the fact that she’s disrupting my peace. However, what I do know is that regardless of the countless times I’ve spoken to her mother about the noise level, this young lady could care less about how she’s inconveniencing others. She’s more concerned about the convenience of her rolling chair. She can’t be bothered with walking across the room to get to her bed or to exit her room.
While this story may seem to be about the inconsiderate young lady, it’s more about not allowing your circumstances to alter your moods.
Insomnia and metastatic breast cancer
Every day, I’m forced to choose between two circumstances: insomnia or taking medications that will cause me to sleep twelve to seventeen hours. Unfortunately for me, those are my only two choices. While I would love other options, I don’t have that luxury.
The problem with being awake is that I have to feel every knife-stabbing, burning, and neuropathic pain at the same time. It’s like having labor pains, a migraine, and a toothache all at the same time while feeling like I’m being burned alive. While asleep I’m also having breakthrough pain, and often a stabbing pain will wake me up out of my sleep. However, that’s quite different from being awakened by thunderous noises over your head.
Choosing peace when living with MBC
Sleep and choice are two very essential elements in our lives, especially when dealing with metastatic breast cancer. We can’t allow others to dictate our choices regardless of the convenient choices that they’ve made for their lives, that may otherwise inconvenience ours.
Even if the sounds of life are as loud as the loudest thunderstorm or shaking us like an 8.0 earthquake, we must choose peace in every given situation. However, it’s very easy to be annoyed and frustrated when you finally get that deep sleep, that newborn baby kind of rest, and you’re awakened before your desired time. You still have the right to choose peace.
Anything and everything that disturbs our peace can contribute to our mental and physical state. Therefore, we must choose peace at all times, otherwise, we may be allowing our outside distractions to kill us softly.
What outside forces are you allowing to kill you softly, mentally, or physically? Discover your triggers and eliminate them before they eliminate you. Let nothing and no one kill you softly, ever.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?