It still feels surprising to say out loud. Nothing will prepare you for a conversation like that. For me in that moment, I kept thinking, "we are not this kind of family." Like somehow it's a family's choice to opt into cancer.
We spent 3 weeks in the hospital. For the first half, I couldn't wait to go home when it was my night. Kendrick and I switched on and off, and I found such respite being in the comfort of my home. However, being home also came with a kind of anxiety that I had never experienced before. I had a hard time being away from my daughter and being "comfortable".
You see, as humans, we learn to adapt to discomfort pretty quickly. Some might say we actually crave it.
An example that immediately comes to mind is the "polar bear plunge" or ice baths. One might be thinking, "Why on earth would anyone put themselves through voluntary discomfort like that??" Is it the adrenaline high? Maybe. Is it the health benefits? Likely. Beyond the obvious reasoning, I think it's because our lives are so comfortable, that once in a while, we crave discomfort.
Now, I'm not trying to compare voluntary discomfort to what we're going through, because we definitely didn't choose to go through this. But since we are, I've been thinking a lot about how discomfort actually makes us stronger. A really interesting sentence that jumped out at me when I was reading up on cold therapy, was that it can increase the body's antioxidant capacity and white blood cell count. We've been super focused on Sofia's WBC count right now, as she had to have 3 blood transfusions in the hospital.
For the rest of us, the practice of taking cold showers or cold water swims, can help our bodies become better equipped to combat oxidative stress...i.e. discomfort. A plunge in frigid water causes our lymph vessels to contract, which forces the lymphatic system to pump lymph fluids throughout the body. The flushing of fluid triggers the white blood cells to attack any foreign bodies in the body. Isn't that so cool?!
The older I get, the more I find out how intuitive the body is. And, the more I believe that we are so much stronger than we think.
So, with that, let's try to do more things that make us uncomfortable in 2023, shall we?
Committed to your health,