After running the gauntlet of breast cancer treatments that may last six months to a year, most people can barely wait to get back to a normal life again. I know I certainly felt that way. “I have a new lease on life. Let me just get on with it!” was one thought I remember having. I had to learn what to do when my breast cancer treatments ended.
You might feel as though you’re at a crossroads in your life, it’s as if you’ve fought this huge battle (and you have). Now what?
I’m here to tell you that the final day of your radiation treatment or chemotherapy infusion should not mark the end of your journey with breast cancer. What you do next is REALLY important.
They Did What Doctors Recommended and Cancer Returned
Sadly, I am hearing all too frequently these days about women who have done everything their doctors recommended – the surgery, the chemotherapy, the radiation, the Tamoxifen or other estrogen inhibitors for the prescribed 5 years, and breast cancer has STILL returned to haunt them.
The therapies we are being provided are – in many cases – NOT helping us or keeping us alive.
Why this is happening can be due to many and varied reasons. I certainly don’t have all the answers (no one does) but I always ask the following questions when I hear people say that this or that friend of theirs is dealing with breast cancer a second time:
What changes did they make to their lifestyle upon being diagnosed?
Did they change their diet? Start buying organic produce?
Did they take any immune boosting supplements or super foods?
Did they stop pouring toxic chemicals on themselves in the form of supermarket lotions, cosmetics, body products?
Did they start drinking filtered water?
Did they detox after their treatments?
Did they address the stress in their lives?
Did they join a support network?
Did they seek out any natural therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, naturopathy?
Empowering Yourself To Be A Survivor
As you can see, there are many ways to be a proactive and healthy, empowered survivor. My own strong feeling is that those who do nothing at all, or only one or two things, have a greater chance of cancer recurring. I am definitely not judging anyone here, many often don’t know what to do so they do nothing.
But cancer is a huge wake-up call – it’s a sign that things are out of balance in your body and/or your life and to only address one or two things (or worse yet, none at all) is a big mistake. One of my favorite quotes comes to us from author Katrina Ellis, in her book “Shattering The Cancer Myth”:
“Think of cancer as a message from God to repair the delicate pattern of your soul and internal bodily health through love, nurturing, understanding and acceptance, and as a way to bring those aspects of your life that are out of balance back into balance.”
If you don’t know what to do to achieve this, please sign up for my free e-book and newsletters. I share all of my best tips in them on how to give yourself the highest chance of surviving this. Not sure? Go to my Testimonials page and see what others thought.
These are just a few of the questions that may nag at you as you make the transition from breast cancer treatment to being a thriving survivor. Sign up for my newsletters (that keeps us connected) and I will do my best to help you through it!
Several breast cancer survivors are interviewed in the video and discuss their transition back to “normal” life and the difficulties they have encountered once their treatment was over. I found this to be a really informative video and pretty life affirming.
One of the things that most cancer survivors talk about is how they feel once the treatments end.
Everyone Seems to Think You Should be Normal Now, But…
Once the treatments have concluded and your cancer battle is seemingly over, then what? Your friends and family are relieved and happy for you and everyone seems to think you will be able to get back to normal really quickly.
But all too often, that just isn’t the case. Some say it takes as long to get back to “normal” as it did to go through the treatment! And they don’t expect that, they often think there’s something wrong with them.
That was certainly true for me – in fact, here it is 8 years later for me and I still notice the after-effects of some of the treatment I received. For one thing, I have these darned tropical moments all the time! And sometimes I don’t seem to be able to cope with too much excitement – it’s like my nerves are shot and I do know they take a beating from some forms of chemotherapy.
For a long time, every ache and pain would send me into a fit of worries thinking “Oh no – is it back again?”
Not to mention the fact that cancer changes you in a very big way – you will never view the world – and your life – the same way again.
The women in the video discuss their physical exhaustion, the sense that the treatments turned their bodies upside down, some suffered from depression, some had intimacy issues.
Dealing With These Problems
The video had a few suggestions on dealing with the problems.
Dr Susan Love, a renowned breast surgeon, suggested that having high expectations could set you up for failure. Lay down and take a nap if you feel you need it!
One woman found that meditation really helped her a lot. Another found that joining a support group was extremely beneficial.
I highly recommend actively dealing with the issues that come along, rather than sweeping them under the rug and ignoring them because – believe me – they don’t go away.
In some respects, I feel my cancer was a gift. An opportunity to create a wonderful new life for myself. Not many get that chance.
Sometimes growth can be painful but it almost always leads to something better.
My New Program
One of the many things that breast cancer survivors have to deal with is finances that are in ruins. Between the cost of treatments, taking time off work to go through the treatments or to heal from surgeries, there is usually some degree of pain being experienced, financially speaking. I’ve put together a new program to help with that and it’s outlined on my page Moving Beyond Breast Cancer. Any questions, just contact me!
Wishing you wonderful things in your healing journey,
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Idea go
I was so inspired by this lovely story – a portrait of a breast cancer survivor named Victoria Behm, who is a NYC artist. She was diagnosed at the age of 57 with the exact same kind of breast cancer I had.
She made an illustrated notebook of her nine-month journey through breast cancer treatment – see her whole story HERE, along with some of her amazing artwork. I loved this story because it brought such an element of personal triumph over her breast cancer diagnosis. I loved her artwork (some of it will make you laugh, especially slide 9) and I especially loved that she’s a survivor.
Enjoy the story and for those of you actively fighting this disease, remember the words of Winston Churchill:
“If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING“!!!!!!
I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.
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About Marnie Clark
Hi I'm Marnie Clark, breast cancer survivor, and breast cancer coach. I have 20+ years of experience in natural medicine. In 2004/05 I battled breast cancer myself. You can see more about my journey on my page Breast Cancer Diary.
I've been healthy and recurrence-free since 2004 and in 2012 I became a Breast Cancer Coach because I became aware of the fact that whilst there is now a wealth of information on the Internet, much of it is confusing, conflicting, and sometimes just wrong!
Why should you work with me? Because:
(1) You don't want to go through this journey alone, feeling unempowered, frightened or just plain
clueless about what to do to help yourself.
(2) You will have someone working tirelessly on your behalf, putting together a healing plan for
you so you don’t have to lose your precious energy researching what food you should eat,
what supplements you should take, and what other things you can do that will give you the
best chances for survival. Instead you can spend that time resting, meditating, healing.
(3) You will learn what questions to ask your doctor (and have someone to turn to for the
questions they can't or won't answer).
(4) You will be armed with the tools and strategies you will need to get through the therapies you
choose so you can make your body hostile terrain for cancer.
You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.