During my two years of intensive cancer treatment and reconstruction, I cut some corners in my life.  During this time, I had eight surgeries and, at least, three medical appointments per week.  I also worked in time to deal with what was happening to me. There was also the rest of my life, working, mothering, making healthy lifestyle changes, being a wife, and finding time to take a break from it all.

It is only natural that some things did not get done. In some cases, I learned that whatever I’d taken the time to do before really wasn’t that crucial to begin with. With mindfulness meditation, I found myself taking up less time worrying and not having to take extra time recuperating from worrying. If you haven’t noticed, worry is exhausting.

But there were other corners that I didn’t want to keep cutting because doing so created overwhelming consequences like an overgrown flower garden full of weeds. Slowly, the front and back yard have gotten back into shape. I initially got help from friends and neighbors. Later, I just ended up hiring help a couple of times a year. Recently, I found out that I could get my yards maintained for a surprisingly reasonable price from a local landscaping/gardening business. So I am doing that.

The biggest mess, however, was my home office. This is where I store my patient files. To protect patient privacy, the door is always kept shut with a finger-tip sensor lock. After 15 years of private practice, I had never gone through my files to see what ones could be legally disposed of. I had also not set up my filing system with a future in mind that included storing several hundred healthcare records. They were just all arranged alphabetically and some were just shoved into boxes because I had run out of filing space. When I mean “some” I mean about three years’ worth of files were shoved into letter sized cardboard file boxes. Most of my records are kept electronically. The electronic portions of my records are organized very well. This is because electronic records do not have to be physically moved around to make space for new records. Consequently, it was easy for me to respond to requests for copies of reports or progress notes that I had written. In other words, the impact of my out of control home office was not detrimental to patient care.

However, it was detrimental to me because I knew that I could not sustain this way of doing things. It was just getting worse and worse. I stopped using my office as a work space. It was too stressful to be in there. Since I wasn’t using it as a work space, it quickly became a surplus storage place. Two weeks ago, it was difficult to walk around in that office.

I found aLast week was spring break for my daughter’s school. I decided to take the week off to take on my office. I had also seen it as a time to hit a “reset button” as the previous weeks had been particularly stressful. As it turned out, the job was bigger than I anticipated. It was also mind numbingly boring. But I now have an organized work space, files organized with the future in mind, and a whole lot less stuff that I didn’t need. I also got over my resistence to transitioning to fully electronic files. Some friends had ideas that got around some of the problems I had not discovered solutions to and having spent a whole week dealing with paper and cleaning has increased my motivation considerably.

I had a hard and boring week. Nonethless, I woke up this morning, with the full feeling of the “reset button” having been pushed.

This won’t last forever.

It won’t be the last time that I need to re-set.

Nonetheless, it feels extremely satisfying.