Breast Cancer

The Toilet Tissue Incident

Yep, there it is...

Yep, there it is…

Really it’s the “toilet tissue roll holder” incident, or the day Shannon “lost her collective shit.” Either will work really….

Here’s what happened. I was a few weeks in to chemo last year, and I was feeling like holy hell. Every single bit of control I had over anything in my life was gone.

See, those of you that know me well, know that I’m a relatively laid back person. But I’m also a worrier and that I work really hard not to be a control freak. Granted, I think we all like to have control over things in our lives. It’s just one of those things I struggle with. I have done a lot of breathing in/breathing out in situations I have no control over in the past. Like to the point I’m surprised that I didn’t pass out…

Anyway, back to the story. We are a few weeks into chemo, mom is here taking care of the kids (and honestly Jason and I too). I don’t know what we would have done without her. She was the thread that held us all together during chemo and surgery. (Tear, sniff, love her!) And she has also been known to put up with some of my bullshit rather well or call me on it or whatever needed to happen.

So one day mom heads out to run some errands while the kids were at school and I was resting. When she came back, she had a new toilet tissue roll holder for our bathroom, because we didn’t have anywhere to put the extra rolls. And folks, I absolutely lost my shit. Right there, in my bed, I had an epic breakdown. Over a toilet tissue roll holder. Yes friends, that happened.

Why? Because little did my sweet mom know, it was the straw that broke the camels back on my control issue. It was the ultimate realization that every single thing in my life was completely out of my control. That cancer moved in and totally took over. I had no control over anything. I hated having cancer. I hated those first 2 months of chemo and the red devil and sick as a dog the next day having to drive in for a painful shot and the rest of that week feeling like total hell. I hated the look on Jason’s face when they hooked me up for chemo, because I knew how much he hated to see me suffer. I hated that I couldn’t be there for my kids. I hated that I couldn’t tuck them in at night. I hated that I had to be so careful and not be around them when they were sick. I hated that I couldn’t drive them to school or pick them up or help them with homework. I hated that someone else had to do that for me. I hated that I couldn’t cook them dinner. I hated all of it. And I hated that I couldn’t be the one to go to the store and pick out the damn toilet tissue roll holder.

There was a lot of hate and no control over things. So I finished my rant and my meltdown and then dissolved into tears. Because it was at that moment that I realized why I was really upset. It wasn’t at my mom. It wasn’t over a freakin holder for toilet tissue. It was completely and totally over a lack of control of every single thing in my life.

So I let go. I let go of all of that control I was desperately trying to hold on to. I let go of control over things that I didn’t even know I was trying to have control over. I began to let what happens, happen.

Because that’s what we should do, and need to do, right? All of the time and effort spent trying to control things in our life is wasted stressful time. It gets in the way of of appreciation and kindness.

I realized that I couldn’t even be grateful to my own mom for doing something really nice for us because I was desperately clinging to a need to control.

Needless to say, I apologized to my mom. And later, once I realized it, explained why I was a crazy person. Well, for that day, at least. And even when I told her to keep it, she took the toilet tissue roll holder back.

She and Jason and I joke about the toilet tissue roll holder sometimes. Because you got to laugh a little, right? But it hits me right in the gut because it was such a huge life lesson. So I’m working on letting go, in a lot of areas in my life. And think that’s one of the things in life that you continually work on. Letting go. So breathe with me, let that shit go, and live in the moment. We’ll all be a lot better off for it.

Much love,
Shannon (who is currently using the magazine rack as a toilet tissue holder – see above) Cox

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2 Comments

  • Reply Elizabeth Johnson October 11, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Shannon, Great post! I love your blogs — very thoughtful, authentic, well-written, unique, and funny. I love your sense of humor. Thank you for reminding readers like me to “let go.” Makes me think of a line Aaron Sorkin wrote for “The Newsroom” : “what happens next, happens next.”
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights. I’m happy you’re feeling so good now! My best to you, Elizabeth

    • Reply Shannon October 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth!! I’ve been thinking about you and hope you are well!

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