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Five Things Friday – Lovin’ Life After Breast Cancer

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Rekindle the Joy

If you have survived breast cancer, you may be waiting for the world to take on rainbow hues and to find yourself jumping for joy. That’s not quite the way it works. It may be more like, “What just happened to me?” and “Why don’t I feel different?”

Time to manage expectations. For one thing, it’s going to take a while for the chemo to stop affecting your body and your brain. Then, you have to come to terms with the realization you will need regular checkups for… well… forever.

The good news is that this is an opportunity for you to retake control of your life and live it with fresh eyes. Eventually, the chemo effects will diminish and you will understand that you have options.

Here are five ways to rekindle the joy in your life:

1. Find purpose in joining with others.

Friends don’t let friends survive cancer alone.

Perhaps you may want to share your experience with others facing breast cancer. Many breast cancer survivors find it rewarding to help others who are beginning the journey you have completed. Albie

Aware can match you with someone who was once just as confused and overwhelmed as you. As you no doubt learned, it is comforting to know you are not alone feeling the fear and anxiety that can accompany a diagnosis. If you had someone to advocate for you, then you know the important role you could play in someone else’s life. Recently overheard: “I always go to appointments with her because I’m the only one who takes notes.” You could be that note taker.

Perhaps you would rather seek encouragement in a support group of other survivors. Everyone’s breast cancer experience is different, yet in many ways, they are all the same. Meeting with others who have walked the same path, you will share laughs (yes, laughs) and tears, and you will be with people who truly understand.

Of course, there is always a need for volunteers at the many events to raise funds and awareness of the fight against breast cancer. Albie Aware is a great source of information.

2. Find an activity that brings you joy.

You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live

The possibilities are endless: Music, dance, live theater, travel, crafts, mahjong, bridge, jewelry-making, art, sports (watching or participating), and so much more. Have you ever wanted to 

be on stage or work behind the scenes? Find a local community theater group. Get out in nature and watch birds or just take walks in the woods. Take classes in photography or painting. Write! Journals can be both healing and fun. Maybe there is a book inside you waiting to get out. If you ever said, “I would like to do that someday,” someday has arrived. Find something that makes you happy!

3. Connect or reconnect with people.

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.

Were you too overwhelmed or sick during your treatment to enjoy the company of friends? Let the people you love help you transition from patient to survivor. Embrace offers of help and camaraderie. Good friends will lift you up.

4. Exercise

If you get tired, learn to rest, Not to quit.

You don’t need to become a body builder or a weightlifter. Exercise can just mean walking, or swimming, or riding a bike. If you were athletic prior to your diagnosis,

exercise

you may want to get back to the gym or tennis court. Perhaps you want to take up tennis! You can even exercise sitting in a chair! Whatever activity you choose, you will be helping your body and your sense of well being. If you gained weight during your treatment, exercising can help with that too. After your treatment, it is vital that you stay healthy. 

5. Just breathe

Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.

“Cancer patient” has been your identity for a significant length of time. Now, after your last treatment, maybe you just need to relax and ease into your life as a “cancer survivor.” Take a few moments and look around at where you will take your next steps. Enjoy the world around you and the people you love. It’s a new day and you are in charge.

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