ACCEPTING A CANCER DIAGNOSIS
When your diagnosed with cancer, you have a choice. The choice to identify as the victim and wallow in the ‘why did this happen to me’, or you can allow yourself to feel that, but not remain in that state. Instead you go and live your fucking life.
As I have spoken about in a previous blog post HERE, the cancer news hits you like a tonne of bricks, you can barely breathe, the wind gets kicked out of you and your feel almost paralyzed. Time stands still. So how do you go from this paralysis to full acceptance? I don’t have the answer as I don’t believe there is one way for everyone, however I was able to accept my diagnosis relatively fast and here’s the way that worked for me.
FEEL IT ALL
I learned this after my mums death in 2009 and it served me well through my own cancer diagnosis 10 years later. If you try to distract yourself and not give yourself the opportunity to go to those dark places you cannot fully accept the situation. Period.
Cancer sux, no doubt, we all know this. Let yourself feel the horrible thoughts that naturally want to come to you. For me these were things like this:
- I’m going to die
- My kids are going to grow up without a mum
- My husband is going to be struggling and the kids will not get the parenting they really need.
- My husband is going to be with someone else
- What kind of role model will this other woman be for my children?
- I’m going to miss all of my family milestones, seeing my children grow up, fall in love, travel, potentially get married and have their own children.
So you're getting the point, there will be much more than this.
Feeling the ins and outs of these ideas at length was quite torturous for me as I’m sure it is for you. I cried, I sobbed uncontrollably, I curled up in a ball and was bed ridden.
But you know what? Once I gave myself the opportunity to accept that all of these things were a possibility, I was able to let them go.
Release them back out into the wild and remember they aren’t my reality yet, they may never be. So what is the point of imagining all of these things every day and living my life in fear and a state of being upset all of the time? In fact, if I do, I’m probably more likely to make them my reality if you believe in the law of attraction.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
Ok so you have cried your heart out and feel as though you have almost run out of tears. Your partner probably thinks your crazy and is trying to tell you to be more positive (thinking they are helping). You will get there, this is part of the process.
The next step for me was mentally trying to release it, for me this step was quite simple and organic. Honestly it happened naturally. However this may not be the case for you, if it’s not, visualization can help hugely. Imagine you are sitting at a campfire, your bundling up all of these non productive thoughts into an old blanket, wrapping them up, make sure you don’t miss any. Then pick up that fucking heavy blanket and toss it into the fire. Now watch it burn until every last piece is gone.
Where has it gone? The embers are all around us, they can land on us at any point in time, but we can also choose to walk away from it, leave it behind.
You have now set it free.
ADAPT A MORE POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND
So I know this sounds easier said than done right? But once you have released those negative thoughts ,you make room for more positive ones. Now you need to focus on what you want to bring in to replace them.
Here are some things that I found helpful:
FINDING JOY- This for me was spending time with my kids ( though not too much or it had the reverse effect haha), playing with my bunny! Literally just patting it and letting it lick me made me so happy, going for walks or listening to music.
GET SOME SUNSHINE- Not only is Vitamin D great for you and there is a lot of research saying it can help with cancer prevention. Getting out into the nice crisp air is fabulous.
MOVE YOUR BODY- it could be as simple as a little walk, some yoga, pilates, dancing (my personal fav) or just stretching.
AROMATHERAPY- It’s amazing the healing qualities in Organic Oils, also the positive emotional affects they can have.
READING BOOKS- I had so many I had collected over the years it was nice to start devouring them.
TAKE A BATH- Get some nice Epsom Salts in there which can help release toxins and ease stresses and strains, muscle tension etc. Also it helps emotionally as well.
LISTEN TO PODCASTS- You can start with mine here..haha joking. Anything that inspires you or boosts your spirits up is a great place to start. Wanted to learn about something for many years? Now is your time.
The list goes on, but find the little things that make you happy and start doing a minimum of 1 each day. Don’t try to overdo it, ease into it.
While you are doing it, really allow yourself to focus on the Joy you are feeling. How does your body feel? What noticeable changes can you pick up on? Remember this feeling.
BUT CANCER REMINDERS ARE EVERYWHERE
This is sadly the reality when you are dealing with cancer, there are constant reminders at times it feels impossible to escape them.
So don’t try to, because you can’t fully control it. What can you control??
I did a post on social media to let all of my friends know that when they see me I don’t always want to discuss my cancer journey, that I want to hear about all of the things that they have been doing as well. This didn’t mean they couldn’t check in with me and ask, but to listen if I said I didn’t want to talk about it. Or to not ask me every time perhaps. This did help, people started allowing me to ask about their lives so I didn’t feel like the cancer patient all of the time.
However it’s going to happen out in public when your rocking a bald head, no eyebrows or lashes as we look ‘sick’. We are such visual beings it’s almost as though without the visual cues people forget your struggling ( I’ll do a separate post about this soon).
For me one of the harder things with the reminders was all of the ‘alternative’ things I was doing. Every morning I would get up and this would be an example of my day.
- Get up, and brush my teeth
- Alkaline (bi carb soda, lemon and filtered water)
- Cook a healthy breakfast
- Take cannabis oil and or other medications
- Drink lots of water
- Go for a walk
- Cook a healthy lunch
- Take more cannabis oil
- Drink more water
- Do some reading
- Prep a healthy dinner
- More cannabis oil before bed
Other than the day to day life things which I haven’t mentioned here such as doing the washing, cleaning, dropping kids off etc. Most of the examples I have above reminded me of cancer, because I was doing them consciously to help get rid of it. Yes it was about being healthy as well of course, but ultimately the drive was to eradicate the cancer.
Or when you are mid treatment and your dealing with side effects there are a million more reminders than the ones I’ve listed above. It’s seemingly endless.
Sometimes it can be hard when they are reminders ALL DAY EVERY DAY.
DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THROUGH IT
Depending on where you are up to with your treatment as to how relevant this is, but for me when I was in the midst of chemo and the side effects were in full force I watched a LOT of tv series. I busted out old things like my F.R.I.E.N.D.S box set and watched them all. I laughed my way through months of chemo from doing this.
Not only did the laughing bring me an immense amount of joy, but it also distracted me. I left it on in the background while I prepped my food, when I got my cannabis oil ready my mind was listening to F.R.I.E.N.D.S and laughing rather than focusing on what I was doing or more importantly why I was doing it.
You get where I’m going with this? Find something that works for you if it all gets too much. Keeping your mind strong through this is crucial.
YOU WILL SPIRAL DOWN AGAIN AT TIMES
Knowing this is going to happen will save you the heartache of when it does. You will have moments/days where you can't get out of bed, where you do wallow in the ‘why me’. My advice in these moments is the same principle as what we have just covered. Allow yourself to feel it, but know it’s going to pass. Know that you don’t want to stay here and go through the steps. It’s normal and it’s ok. We all have shit days because cancer sux.
But you can get through this and you can make it easier on yourself in the process.
I wish you all the best and hope this has helped in some way.
NOTE- I understand my steps may not resonate with you as everyones ways of dealing with this are extremely personal and unique. I encourage you to follow any steps that feel right to you.