Self Reflection: Recognising How Far You’ve Come

You guys know I love a bit of self reflection.

There’s a whole section of my blog dedicated to that kind of chat, and on my drive home from work the other day (my usual source of inspo), I started to think about the value of self reflection.

I think that it is good for the soul. We don’t do it enough.

We hide away from celebrating our achievements. Or simply forget how different life was this time last year.

This can completely take away from a big life change, or allows us to underestimate ourselves.

Let me get a bit personal

This time two years ago, I was going through the lowest point in my entire life. October 2016.

You would think that the lowest point in my life was August that year, when I was first diagnosed. But no, it actually wasn’t.

At that point, I was cocooned in my own hospital room, a flurry of nurses and doctors in and out to take bloods, check my temperature, or wheel me off to another scan.

I controlled the stream of family and friends that I would allow to visit because, “I’ll be out soon, I’d rather see you at home”. LOL…this was the girl who had been given two weeks to live but believed none of it.

Two weeks of hospital food and sleeping on a sweaty mattress later, I was back home. The visits to hospital became just for treatment and check ups, as I continued Immunotherapy for the Stage 4 Melanoma I was dealing with.

I carried on in a little bubble of being told what to do next by the doctors.

By October, treatment was put to a stop as I was landed back in hospital with side effects. Colitis that kept me in the bathroom for 90% of the day if we’re being really honest.

To give you some context, Bonfire Night is one of my most favourite nights of the year, and I remember miserably propping myself up on my window ledge to glimpse what I could of the Southampton skyline that year.

All whilst streaming that “Meet the Parents” dating show hosted by Holly Willoughby, lol.

And it was a downhill slope from there (or so I thought)

I was terrified that the treatment that had so far been working, had been stopped.

I didn’t want to understand the implications of my side effects, because I needed to get back onto treatment. It was working.

And then I did something I’d promised myself I wouldn’t do. I googled my stats. I read up on how many people had survived without recurrence.

Let’s not get into what I read…but let’s just say it did not put me in a good headspace. I clearly remember sitting on the living room floor, wrapped in a duvet, crying to Ross.

I wasn’t coping with the uncertainty of my future.

But then things took another turn.

I got good news. I was told that I didn’t even need to get back on treatment, because the cancer had gone. Yes, I have lots of liver scarring due to the sheer size and number of tumours that I had, but effectively…I was cancer free. This was practically unheard of.

But where did that leave me?

Then, I couldn’t cope with having a future. I didn’t understand what that future was.

Pre-cancer, the future was obvious to me. I would get a job, a husband, a house, and a family. You can’t grow old without a family, that you created, shouting at one another over the dining table can you?

But what if cancer had taken all of that away from me, and my future now just involved living between scans and hospital appointments?

At times, that seemed just as scary as not having a future.

(WOAH, I did not see this blog post turning into such an emotional off load, but there we go. Deep breath.)

So let’s indulge in a bit of self reflection

Don’t we all get caught up in the drama of day to day life?

There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s work, money, friends or family. Something will always be bubbling away, niggling at us.

I’m not here to tell you to just forget about all of that shit, because I for one know that it doesn’t work like that. But, you do need to find moments in which to let go of these things and just realise that life is pretty damn good.

Whether you are lucky enough to have family and friends who love and support you. Or, you’ve got a roof over your head that you are proud of. Or, you’ve simply got a job that pays the bills and allows you to have a bit of fun at the same time.

There’s always something to be grateful for, surely?

We so often forget about these things.

Taking them for granted as part of “normal life”, when actually life could look very different indeed. Mine certainly did two years ago.

So there I was, zooming down the motorway, thinking about nothing much other than whether I wanted to listen to Radio 1 or a podcast, when it hit me.

I was having the worst time of my life two years ago, and now look. Let me actually just revel in how utterly awful, and shocking life was two years ago, because hi hello…look at where I am now.

Make yourself a list now. Mental or written, whichever tickles your pickle.

Cheer yourself on for every little achievement and think about how far you’ve come. You’ve probably got a whole stack of small achievements that you’ve never even realised.

Granted, I know not everyone has had to come back from a monumental health scare…but we all have stories to tell, please don’t discount your own.

And if you’re struggling right now, try and find comfort in the fact that there is still the chance that life will get better. And you’ll be able to reflect on how far you’ve come.

I would love to hear your own stories! Please share them with me on Instagram or Twitter!

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