Coping with Cancer
Coping with cancer of any kind can become challenging in the process and thereafter. After my journey I found that I was embracing a new normal. I had so many concerns; How do I let go of who I was before? How do I learn to love this new normal I am faced with? Where do I begin in this process of as a cancer patient? Below I will share some techniques I've found to be helpful on my journey and in this new chapter of my life.
1.Understand that the challenges you face on this journey aren't evident to everyone.
Billions of people are impacted by cancer, but very few will truly understand what effects it has on the patient. In this process it’s important to know, you are NOT alone, and no, you are NOT crazy! Many people experience this, it’s completely normal. Entering back into the workforce with the questions and concerns from my peers were tough. I found that it was imperative to seek counsel and talk about it. Although I chose not to engage in cancer support groups, I found my faith is what helped me through this process as well as counseling. My spiritual foundation has brought my journey to light. I am gaining a better understanding of how purposeful and intentional God was in the process. Cancer resonates differently when you have gone through the experience and you become the biggest advocate for your health.
2.Utilize your resources
People want to help you on this journey. Nurses and physicians are there of course, but those who haven't been through what you have gone through do too. They however, understand the struggle from another perspective. Their level of understanding tends to be different than those that have experienced it. Truth is, there are people in place to help aid in the emotional and mental healing that is needed on this journey. Therapists, trainers, and specialists of all kinds depending on your needs. Don't be afraid to speak your truth. Don't feel like you have to apologize for your body's response to cancer. Lastly, healing takes time! This is something loved ones and friends may not understand or accept, but you have to do what’s best for you!
3. Embrace your body
After cancer your body changes, at least for me it did in many capacities. What I once knew to be normal and enjoyable became quite less than that. Taste bud changes, urges for certain foods, physical abilities (fitness), and even sensitivity to certain smells. The truth is, our bodies alter throughout cancer treatment processes. Mistakenly, I felt it was important to push myself to understand what my limits and barriers were. But in reality, I needed to accept that my body was changing at each stage in this process, embrace the changes, and speak against those limitations that were trying to come over me.
Ongoing challenges come with cancer and its difficult adjusting back into the day to day activities: family, children, work, etc. Life after cancer can be and will be not only beautiful, but more beautiful and fulfilling than ever, but it’s a choice. There were lows but there were highs as well; there still are. Which is why community support and family support are necessary. Sharing these helpful tips and my story will hopefully provide insight in my journey. I am fueled by my passion to embrace this new life- the scars, adjustments, and all. The now is undeniably better than what was then. I wouldn't take it back if I could. Plus, not experiencing that level of pain is still unbelievable. There is no doubt in what can happen when God is at the center of your core! The possibilities are endless. If you're willing to put in the physical work, emotional work, exploration, serenity, and laugh and cry as needed, the journey is beautiful and powerful. As a cancer patient, this was challenging to me, but I am a part of a cancer tribe now and I stand here an overcomer and miracle in the flesh! I choose every day to walk in my truth and I know that this is a reminder that what was designed to destroy me didn't prosper. (Psalm 147:3)
Every day is another chance to get stronger, to eat better, to live healthier, and to be the best version of you! Apart of my daily routine, I chose to speak positive affirmations over myself. The question of "Who am I after cancer?" forced me to re-examine how I viewed myself. "I am God's child. I am more than enough! Even me! I am beautiful, scars and all! I am free. I am gifted. I am blessed. I am an overcomer. I am a cancer survivor. I am great!" Each and every day I chose to speak positive affirmations that truly change my perspective of life.