Cover of FINDING YOUR BALANCE ON THE CANCER CAROUSEL by Sarah Kelzenberg.
BALANCE ON THE
by Sarah Kelzenberg
A diagnosis of cancer brings terror to one’s heart. Terror is my best descriptor of the initial feeling, followed by internal panic and indignation. Often there is a typical response: “WHY ME?” And then there’s the thought each morning upon waking that, “This is just not true.” Through three diagnoses I have had these and many other emotional feelings when faced with the reality of cancer. Cancer is the worst control freak I have ever met! It incited me to battle at every turn. It made me angry that it had darkened my doorstep. I have always been a competitor and I showed cancer who was the “champ”, or at least I tried to do that. This determination was just one thing that got me through my cancer challenges.
Another very important emotion that helped me stay strong, however, was/is a positive attitude throughout the battle. People noticed that and often said to me, “You should write a book about how to survive cancer and keep a positive attitude.” To tell you the truth, it wasn’t until about four years after my bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma that I had enough energy to begin to write this little booklet. Then it took 3 years to get it into the present form, and I still tweak it here and there.
My first image was that cancer is like Alice’s falling down the hole into Wonderland. She gradually came to see that this was a totally different place and she didn’t know the rules and the longer she was there the more confused she became. So too with cancer: it changed my world. I didn’t know what to expect. No matter how much I read about the cancer, I was still entrenched in uncertainty. My confusion was sort of like when the caterpillar said to Alice, “Whoooo are yhooooo?” And so I began to write. However, when I read my first pages using this metaphor to my husband and my son, they just said, “Cancer isn’t funny, Mom.” “Oh,” I said, “but a sense of humor sure does help.”
Even though I didn’t totally agree with them, I began to search for a new analogy and I came up with the carousel image, flowing from my granddaughter’s first reaction to a carousel ride at age one. She wasn’t terrified, but truly overloaded with new sights, sounds and motions, kind of like a new landscape of experiences. Six months later she rode again and was more able to take in all of the stimuli, but not really delighted either. The third time, again months later, she was excited and wanted to ride again and again. I don’t mean to imply that cancer is a carousel ride, but it is like Dora’s carousel ride in that it has never before been experienced; and it has it’s ups and downs as in our feelings of well-being; and it seems like we are always going round and round with treatment plans and appointments. In all, cancer can really pull us off balance emotionally, and that affects our feelings of control as much as the endless medical questions do.
FINDING YOUR BALANCE ON THE CANCER CAROUSEL is my attempt to explain how I kept my balance and my positive attitude in the face of the world’s worst control freak, cancer. In it I talk about five “Balance Buttons” that you may consider when you find yourself off-kilter while meeting the challenges of life with cancer. For the buttons I chose Mindfulness, Openness, Know-How, Spirituality, and Interaction (MOKSI). I write a few paragraphs about each Button, followed by a few questions you can ask yourself in order to see if that is a Button that needs more attention right now. On the following page are some suggestions that may help you to regain your balance in that area. Interspersed throughout the booklet are small versions of my posters designed to give you pause to reflect on the present moment in your cancer survivorship. This 25-page booklet is very straight forward, succinct and simple.
My hope is that through reading my book you will begin to see that you can be filled with MOXIE, which is what the first letters of the Balance Buttons (M0KSI translated to MOXIE) spell. MOXIE is defined as “COURAGE, PLUCK, PERSEVERANCE AND GUTS.” Moxie is what you will need to keep yourself positive in this terribly difficult time of your life. I hope that my book will be a piece of your peace of mind.
The booklet is 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" and has 16 pages. The cost is $9 each, including shipping and handling. You can order by sending me an email at email@example.com and specifying the quantity and your method of payment.
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Sun Lakes, Arizona 85248, USA