Reducing Fear & Anxiety of Cancer Recurrence
It is one of those nights where the kids are unwilling to cooperate, and the house is literally spewing with dirty dishes from breakfast, lunch and now dinner. Tomorrow is expected to be a day full of unmet deadlines both personally and professionally. And to top it off how to I deal with my thoughts of cancer recurrence.
I have resolved to come up with my own answers and much of my search lead me to be of service to others as they begin their own healing.
Dealing with Stress that Comes with the Fear of Recurrence
We all have this stress at some point in our lives. Take a journey with me, step into my shoes for one moment. I am experiencing the side effects of life after a diagnosis, chemo, surgery and radiation. Doing life like everyone else, but mine is forever altered.
The stress of a typical night, compounded with all the issues of raising a family releases one major after cancer side effect- the anxiety and fear of cancer recurrence.
A breast cancer survivor doing life with 2 little ones, a wonderful husband/cook and a rewarding job. I should be thrilled, right? Things are looking great, the tests show NED (no sign of disease), spring is just around the corner, and I have one of my best friend’s wedding to attend on a tropical island in a few months- I have lots to look forward to.
Why then, let those thoughts of fear of cancer recurrence creep in? Easy- because the possibility of cancer recurrence is real. It’s not easy or enough to just move through life blind to the real life statistics of a breast cancer survivor/thriver.
“Why is it not enough to be happy to be alive?”, Some may ask. I can tell you that it will never be enough, not after you have gone through a tragedy. Your lens has been forever blurred by the awful experiences that happened, and your joy comes from an alternative place. I had to figure out what makes me move forward and push away the little voice that scares me into a place of fear.
It is not enough to just exist anymore. It’s not sufficient to do my daily routine without much thought or intensity. I am made for more.
This life, with the unmet deadlines, dirty dishes, disheveled children, and overall disorganization, is mine. Down to every little detail. In some ways, it is easier to let many things go, and in other ways, I want to know what this experience was for after all? Was it for me, for others, or was it simply a fluke?
I have to choose to be joyful in ALL I DO.
There are several answers to this questions either founded by science or faith or both. I have been settling with the idea that I will operate by peace and healing instead of fear.
Since my adventure with Send Me On Vacation, (check out previous posts) I have chosen to live a fuller life that will bring a joy in my daily “here’s” and “there’s.” I’ve learned tools that changed the way I viewed my situation that helped propel my thoughts toward positivity and advocacy.
I have resolved to come up with my own answers, and much of my search lead me to be of service to others as they begin their own healing.
I have made a choice to come up with my own answers, and much of my search has lead me to be of service to others as they begin their own healing journey. I have found that by sharing and opening up to others, the real healing then can begin.
3 Things You Can Do to Create a Less Stressful Healing Journey
Relationships between breast cancer survivors are incredibly powerful and even when there are only two, magic can happen. I have been blessed to experience the magnitude of love and support- with such emotion, no wonder there is healing.
#1 Start a Blog or Write a Journal and SHARE
One of the most vulnerable actions I took was sharing my story through my blog: Happily Ever After Cancer. I hesitated to reveal how much pain, sadness and weight gain I had experienced. And not to mention the hair loss.
Once, I was able to think a bit more clearly, I realized how helpful I could be to others who may be suffering. Gaining insight and support from someone who was farther along in their cancer journey was invaluable to me. I would have done anything for that kind of support.
#2 Attend a Retreat
Attending a retreat will develop relationships for life. All we really have as we move through this crazy life are the relationships and experiences that we create. The most rewarding memories are the ones where I am pushing myself to grow. And meeting with those who encourage me to push.
It doesn’t hurt if you are in a beautiful setting, like Puerto Vallarta. Thank you SMOV and Rebecca Taylor Shaw. Both are an awesome combo promoting empowerment and rejuvenation. Be prepared to meet inspiring women and the occasional male breast cancer survivor with the Mermaid Empowerment Retreat that help breast cancer survivors to develop life skills to move beyond cancer. If that isn’t what you want or need there is a live Mermaid Mindfulness Virtual Gathering the first Wednesday of every month.
[bctt tweet=”#MermaidMindfulness Live Virtual Gathering 04.05.17 https://goo.gl/KmXFbK #breastcancer #SMOV” username=”sendmeonvacatio”]
#3 Follow Survivors on Instagram
Follow other breast cancer survivors on instagram. Get inspiration and get ready to be inspired. I live in a particularly isolating small town with very few resources. I sought out social media right away for the support that I may be lacking from my community. I found brilliant, inspiring and beautiful souls.
One survivor in particular was a huge inspiration to me and she and I began exchanging cards, phone calls and nutrition tips. I mourned when she passed from metastasized cancer. Feeling blessed and honor just to have known her and all because of our breast cancer social media connection. Please follow me on Instagram @happilyeveraftercancer so that I may too offer a bit of respite to those in need.
Everyone’s Journey Will Be Different
I don’t have all the answers- although I operate more with peace these days knowing fear is never too far. I find comfort when I seek to empower myself through education, relationships and implementing what I learn into my lifestyle. No matter what lies ahead, when that fear of cancer recurrence creeps in because it’s been a long, exhausting day, remember you are not alone.
Be a service to others and you will find the light that will power you to a life well-lived.
Much love on your journey,
Breast Cancer Survivor Stage 2, diagnosed at 34 year’s old