I am happy to report that I have completed my first full week of topical chemo treatment on my sun-damaged forehead. And to be perfectly honest, it's been rather innocuous thus far. For this, I am incredibly grateful. I remain optimistic that the remaining treatment time will be uneventful and soon this will be behind me.
I am working on trying not to be bothered by how my skin looks. This is harder than I expected. It's winter and I hide my forehead under a knit cap most days. I wear a baseball cap to the gym. I thought I would be more open to embracing this. It's surprisingly difficult to let go.
For at least three decades, I worshipped the sun. I loved how I could give my skim milk-colored skin a golden tone even if it meant enduring a painful sunburn along the way. I worshipped the sun for how it enhanced my appearance. Ironic.
There is nothing pretty about what the sun did to me. A few months ago, I had 24 stitches on my face after the removal of basal cell carcinoma - - a form of skin cancer from heavy sun exposure. And yet I feel fortunate. This relatively common skin cancer is treatable and not as consequential as melanoma. Friends, please use sunscreen.
I’ve been told I am a great planner. My planning abilities have served me well in my work life, family life, and social life. I’ve taken pride in the reputation I’ve built as a master planner. And yet, I am trying to shed this asset.
When I am in planning mode, I am not here. My mind is distracted on that future thing that pulls my attention from what is in front of, next to, and around me. This can be appropriate from time to time as much of life requires advance notice. However, I am practicing being more present more often. And practice it takes. One of my tricks is to reduce the multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time.
Benefits I’ve experienced: greater feelings of calm, content, and a heightened awareness of the sights, smells, and sounds that surround me. This sounds easy yet can be rather difficult in our fast-paced, noisy lives, especially when we are surrounded by people who are racing around us.
What challenges to feeling present have you faced?
What has been useful for you to live in the here and now?