As a professor and educator since 2003 both online and in person, I feel education is key to life. If I am not learning, I am not living. This course is the first of MANY to come - some will be free, some will require a small fee ($20 or $30) to sign up. This course is The Basics - all about getting back to "normal" after cancer, major life-changing diagnosis or other news like genetic predisposition to cancer... Watch the video below for a quick overview of the course.
As someone who is focused on helping others oh and who has helped people for over 20 years with resumes, career planning and more (seriously, check out my other small business, The Next Step), I feel that founding this nonprofit is what I am meant to do and grow.
So here I am, a year and 9 months post diagnosis and still writing and talking about what it means to be diagnosed with cancer...
Some of you might kindly wonder why I’m still writing and talking about these things now and not just putting it behind me and moving on...
Some of you might rudely think I’m just stuck and need to get over myself and come to think of it you’re sick of seeing my body out there as an example of living after cancer...
Whatever it is you think I learned the hard way not to give a good dang about it. No offense please.
The idea is that God gave me the ability to write, to tell my story, to use my voice and shout it out and no matter what I don’t feel the time has come for me to sit down and shut up already.
Would it be easier for my kids if I shut up and stopped sharing? Well, since they see me everyday markedly different than I was before, no I don’t think so. No matter what even if I had reconstructed my right breast I would still look different and feel different too - my kids are used to popping (and I mistyped that at first as pooping lol that’s true too) in on me all the time despite locking doors and being private they can still and have still at times found me mid clothing change or in a wardrobe mishap (it doesn’t just happen to celebrities check out my pics from my luau we hosted and you can peep my scar instead of a boob).
I’m not ashamed of my scars or my body (anymore). I love myself from head to toe and I know there are many women out there and men too who have or haven’t been hit with the cancer stick and don’t appreciate or love themselves. It’s an epidemic and it’s also something that can’t be helped I guess.
You see there are things I wish you knew about yourself that you just probably can’t know unless you get hit with the cancer stick and trust me I will never thank cancer for nothing but I did learn some stuff and as an educator since, well, birth, learning is my favorite thing to do -
So here are some things I wish you knew:
1- Your body is your friend - love yourself, appreciate your body for not failing you, for being strong and carrying you through your days and nights as you work, love and live.
2- Don’t pity me because I got sick - but DO understand how quick the line between health and sickly can be crossed and just remember to always know what you need to be well and that no matter what there isn’t a guarantee you’ll never get sick.
3- Don’t sweat the small stuff - and it's all small! Seriously, I see you all worried about what someone thinks of you or something equally small and inconsequential from my seat in my Chemo chair history and all I can say is that you are wasting your time, wasting your health on something that ultimately doesn’t matter. The only things that matter to me are A) am I helping others? and B) am I a good mom/wife/friend etc?
We all, deep down, crave a meaningful life with relationships and love but what we do is posture around like that doesn’t matter and fret about every little thing (I know I did). And yes it’s in that order because I do believe I was a great mom always though I wasn’t a good wife or friend but that’s ok I learned the hard way how important that is - helping others is really in my opinion the currency of life...
4- Know your worth and don’t squander your time, attention and health on stuff that doesn’t matter in the long run. Find something you enjoy doing no matter how small no matter how silly it seems and do it - try not to worry about bills they will always be there but do try to find something that will fulfill you.
5- Do not stress - stress is the absolute worst thing for your health your body and everything around you - I used to stress and worry about everything then I got stage 3 cancer and now when I should, you know, be worried I realize the futility of worry -
it did nothing to keep me well to get me well or anything and that brings me to my last lesson today...
6 - Don’t ever think “it can’t be me” -- it can be you - risk analysis and or thinking in terms of never are a big way to lead to disaster - I thought it would never be me but I did my screening mammograms anyway - imagine if I didn’t - I would probably be dead.
Every day is a gift live in the moment and know who has your back and always keep them close.
This is what I do in the time between.
Years ago I began to meditate to help me calm my ever racing mind. I had issues, and the issues involved anxiety and nerves and just being over involved with every aspect of my life - it was fun - NOT.
After being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at 39 years old making me a young breast cancer patient I had to change my ways and fast. How can you face a potentially life threatening illness while under a constant thought of anxiety that I would not survive the unknown and the uncertainty.
I had heard about the power of the mind via the Heal documentary and thought I would look to find a hypnosis that would help me feel I could keep my body cancer free - and I know this could all be futile and that no matter what I do or did I could still have my cancer return or progress as over 1/3 of cancer patients become metastatic no matter what - or actually the question for that is without knowing why.
My hypnosis is homemade and funny - but it does what I need it to do - it walks through every organ, every piece of my body and talks about how those all are cancer free, no evidence of disease, no inflammation and more.
It might seem strange but I do feel the hypnosis has helped me put some fears aside - when I first created the hypnosis track I was euphoric thinking about how awesome it was to do this for my body and my health.
I also have noticed that my wbc seems to be improving despite being on a clinical trial of a drug that lowers my wbc - more on my clinical trial is coming in a future post.
What do you do to help your body and mind heal after something as traumatic as cancer? How do you try to take back control over the very things we have no control over - that which goes on inside of our bodies? Please share with me or ask me if you want to know more about my routine / plan for dealing with the whole life after cancer diagnosis. Thx! Supermom XOXO
I know I already wrote about how I am a Unicorn but this is a bit more about options and how I made my choices.
I knew when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right boob that I wanted it chopped off. The doctors tried to tell me to wait to see if a lumpectomy was an option but I just knew it had to go. Ultimately, I did need a mastectomy as the tumor was 5.6cm and dispersed throughout the breast not in one spot only.
I also knew I did not want to reconstruct. This is a very personal decision.
I only knew flat was an option to me because I was too stubborn to have additional surgeries. I wanted it over and done with and knee reconstruction would cause more surgery and or more complications.
I had to meet with a plastic surgeon anyway despite knowing I did not want to have an implant.
That meeting was fun - the nurse told me I was nuts to not want to reconstruct (I’m paraphrasing) but she thought especially because I was so young that I would miss the breast.
Well, I don’t miss it. I’m half flat no longer using prosthetics AND posing topless to prove it - let me just tell you I have never been the type of person to be nude anywhere but you know the normal places and circumstances. I’ll be 42 this year and I never thought I would pose naked anywhere - but I also never thought I would get cancer soooo
I’m just happy in my skin I love my body scars and all- do you?
I’m so lucky to be alive and to have a supportive husband who just doesn’t care that I only have one boob. I forget why people stare at me when I’m out as I’m more than lopsided I’m just bone on the right side.
I wish I had been this kind to my body before - I never appreciated or loved myself as much as I do now: I pose for these pics smiling so other women know that even with just my one tit I’m still happy feel as though I am sexy and womanly despite only having one breast.
What have you done to appreciate your body no matter what it has going for it or missing from it? After 2 children and yo yo-ing weight and just general abusing myself with junk food stress and anxiety I am now as close to who I truly am in my soul one boob and all.
Photo credit: Sophie Mayanne - Behind the Scars Project
Super Mom BC Eradicator - connect with me via the icons above :). Thanks! XOXO LISA (my secret identity ... )