Welcome back! I shared my diagnosis of breast cancer in an earlier post http://www.bloggingtheroadnottaken.com/breast-cancer-diagnosis. On the day I was diagnosed, I felt numb. My husband was working out of town again. This would be the last time he would be away from me during treatment! Mom called to see if I wanted company. I told her that I was okay. She knew better. She showed up anyway! Mom is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed seven years ago when she was 67. So, she knew exactly how I was feeling. We sat on my bed and cried together. A friend came by later to have coffee with me.
It is hard to know how to tell people that you have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but it is hard for me to be the center of attention. It just is not in my nature. I enjoy being in the background. That was soon to change. I told my immediate family and friends and then posted it on Facebook. The reason I did this is because it reaches many people. I knew I would need the support.
I went through a range of feelings and emotions. I rejected my left breast. I didn’t want to touch it. Mom called it a mourning. I quickly got over that feeling realizing that I am made in God’s image and he loves every part of me. Also, I realized that I should feel what a cancerous lump feels like God forbid if I ever had a recurrence. I have to be honest here….I had a hard time finding the lump. I had very dense breasts. By this, I mean that they were already lumpy. I had a history of painful breasts during menstruation. I tried to find the lump in the shower. I could not feel it. It was only when I laid down and tilted my body to the right…as they did during the sonogram, that I could find it. Plus, I could not find it every time. I questioned would I be able to find anything during self examination. You second guess yourself.
The waiting is the worst part. I am a “doer.” I found that I was “doing” the things I could control, like laundry, cleaning, cooking or writing in my journal. I was thankful for my job. It was a distraction. I was honest with my new bosses. I wanted to build a trust. They were supportive!
Mom told me in the very beginning that I would feel so much love. This support lets you know you are not alone. I received so many caring and loving phone calls, text messages, instant messages, Facebook posts, flowers, gifts and prayers. I am on prayer chains around the world. My greatest support came from my husband. I knew he was afraid too, but he never showed it. He lived out the vow we made “in sickness and in health.”
I told you that I am a list maker, so I will list the things that helped me cope through this journey called Breast Cancer:
- daily devotions and Bible readings
- keeping a journal
- setting goals
- creating a healing space
- keeping open contact and communication with friends and family
- mindful meditation
- guided imagery
- read blogs
- watch YouTube
- watch movies
- sit outside
Prayer, devotion and Bible readings have been a constant in my life since 1997! It became even more important to me to stay grounded. Mom told me early on in this journey to keep a journal. She even loaned my hers to read. I would pick it up, but have to put it down because the pain was too real for me. I would write like a crazy woman in my journal because it was a release. Yoga allows you to concentrate on breathing. Sometimes that is all I could do. The movements are a plus in my healing now.
I felt it was important to create goals–list maker issue! These goals helped me to take the focus off of pain or self-loathing or fear and put into action things to progress to the next level. I will have another blog about goal-setting.
Another area of importance for me was creating a space to heal after my surgery. I have a chair in the corner of our bedroom. I used that space to create a place for healing. I added a side table and placed things there that made me feel good. Things like a candle that soothed, a little bird my daughter had given me, my Bible, devotions, books, journal and magazines. I hung an inspiration board to place pictures and quotes. I hung my goal sheets and reminders about healing. My daughter made me a pink blanket with embroidered words of inspiration that I placed on the chair. I would crave that space!
Also, I wanted a pretty space outside to sit. My husband helped me prepare my little gardens. We planted new flowers and herbs. We hung wind chimes and bought little inspirational garden stones. It was beautiful!
I hope this helps with your thoughts that are probably so scattered right now. I want you to know that you can find peace in the midst of your diagnosis. It is a conscious effort to think of things other than Breast Cancer. It is a diagnosis. It is not who you are. You cannot let it consume you.
Please email me with questions, comments, thoughts, concerns….I would be happy to hear from you!