Life after cancer is all about being a survivor. Just recently, I was able to embrace being a survivor. In a way, it is easier to pretend that everything didn’t happen but I’m reminded every day when I look in the mirror.
Life After Cancer: Body, Mind and Soul
After chemotherapy, surgery, three ports, one PICC and radiation, I have at least 11 physical scars. I see them every day when I look in the mirror. So, I had a choice, I could live in anger or I could walk in confidence. Eventually, I learned to embrace my scars. My scars do not define me. My scars refine me.
Being a cancer survivor is physically hard on the body. The after effects of chemotherapy and radiation present many challenges with bone density and dental work. I often have unexplained body ache and neuropathy in my hands and feet.
It is so important to stay positive not only during treatment but also after treatment. Here are three steps I took to live a more positive life
First, I surrounded myself with positive people; positive talk and I didn’t listen to the negative stories.
- There will always be someone with a negative experience or story. I just let that go in one ear and out the other. My goal was to remain positive. I surrounded myself with positivity. Positive people pour into your life instead of those people who constantly take from you.
Next, I changed my way of thinking. I had to become positive in the midst of a grim diagnosis. I posted positive notes everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
- I had a positive note at my workplace on my desk and in my drawer. It was a scripture verse. I needed to dare to trust God.
- I had a positive note on my bathroom mirror and a positive note in my car. I listened to praise and worship music in my car on the way to work and on the way home from work. My faith began to rise. My outlook began to change.
Finally, I visualized (I saw) myself healed.
- I saw myself receiving that promotion that I was seeking at work and I saw myself coming through this diagnosis of cancer. I saw myself coming through on the other side and living my life to the fullest. We call this step visualizing.
Almost every day I’m asked, “ How did you do it?” The honest answer to that question is… I have a strong faith in God and I refuse to become a victim. Does that mean that I was never sad or am never sad? Oh, no! I have moments even now when I think of a recurrence of cancer. I have moments when I get scared because I’m human.
I draw strength from these verses:
“…and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 (NIV) I remember the day I received the cancer diagnosis over the phone. I sat in a chair in my living room with silent tears streaming down my face and I remembered that verse in the Bible. I didn’t remember the reference for it but I remembered that the Bible told me that God knew the very number of hairs on my head.
Even through chemotherapy, losing my hair and my hair growing back, God still knows how many hairs are on my head and he cares that much about me. He cares that much about you, too.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) Jeremiah 29:11 became my life verse because I needed a miracle and my hope was truly in the Lord.
Life is a gift.
The most important message I want to tell you is that life is a gift. Am I breathing? Yes! Then, I have a purpose and responsibility to go on. Life goes on! I have a responsibility to live every day with a smile on my face because I am a survivor. Generations before me went through cancer clinical trials so that I could benefit from Red Devil Chemo, Taxol, Herceptin, Arimidex and Femara.
Take care of yourself: Body, Mind and Soul.
I write about my thoughts, my hopes, my soul, my highs, my lows and everything in between. I share my journey through breast cancer and invite you to read my story in Keeping It Real.