Getting Your Bounce Back!

iStock_000011459857_ExtraSmallJust because surgery and treatments are over, doesn’t mean you’ll feel like your old self again… No matter how much you might want it. There’s going to be a new “normal” and time needed to adjust.

Now, don’t panic… The new normal isn’t necessarily a bad place to be. You may not like it at first, but be aware you are now likely headed to a better place. It takes time and sometimes a new stage of “treatment” that you likely hadn’t considered… Psychological.

When you think about it, it really is a form of PTSD. You’ve been doing battle for a long time and it takes time to leave that mindset.

I was in treatment for close to a year. From diagnosis in the beginning of June; radiation all summer; surgeries in June, September and December, and physical therapy through April; it was May before I stopped having some sort of treatment nearly every day or week and then there was nothing, no safety net or someone to hold my hand.

After treatment, you experience fear with every scan and that’s normal. Over time, with each clear scan, you get where you can handle it better. You never get where it’s completely easy, but it does get MUCH easier.

There are support groups (online and on site), as well as psychologists trained in post cancer needs. There are always places to look for people that are just like you and know exactly what you’re feeling and dealing with. You just need to look for them. I wish there were so many when I went through my treatment. I did use The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network (CSN) and it was unbelievably helpful, but truly needed more.

I struggled for close to a year on my own and was nearly at the breaking point before I gave in and sought treatment for the depression. No one wants to admit to depression and honestly, I was at the end of my rope, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was “weak.” Now, the kicker… I went from wanting to drive my van off a bridge one night, to my first belly laugh in likely two years or more and all in just twenty-four hours of starting the medicine.

It has taken me a while, but after nine years, I no longer need the meds and feel amazing! Better than I have in YEARS! I survive scans well and try to reach out to other Liposarcoma survivors, so they don’t have to go through the process alone (we are a rare breed and it’s often difficult to find the support we need).

So, to wrap this up… Don’t expect that just by being cancer free is going to make you feel “normal” again and that is fine… It’s normal, so to speak, to not feel normal. It’s all a part of the healing process.

The new “normal” can be the best part of your life, if you just give it time. Bouncing back will happen.

Hang in there and if you have questions, you can contact me through this site.

 

“Fear makes us feel our humanity.”  ~Benjamin Disraeli

Advertisements

Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Survivor

602578_388458464570763_746788322_nAs someone that has put up with the holidays while dealing with treatment, I can tell you that a little, well thought gift can be gold. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s a few things that stand out.

Here are a few ideas:

1)      Soft cuddly blankets. Easy to find and when going through treatment, we often are cold.

2)      For those going through chemo, a soft hat to keep heads warm and look nice, without itching. For those struggling with hair loss, something nice is gold.

3)      Also hard candy is nice when taste is screwed up by treatment. Old fashioned lemon drops are wonderful and easy to find.

4)      ANYTHING offering hope. From signs with quotes, to books on the subject; we’re grasping for all the hope we can grab hold of.

5)      Gift cards are always a winner, but package them up in clever ways. My music rules, so iTunes gift cards were always great things.

These are just a few little things, but the main thing is not to avoid the friend with cancer because they’ve never needed you like they are right now. I can tell you first hand that it’s an awful feeling to see all of your friends bail because you’ve got cancer and they can’t deal with it. Be there; take them shopping, to lunch or anything that can get their minds off of treatment.

It doesn’t take a lot to be a friend, time and simply being there is the best gifts offered. 🙂

Have a wonderful week and see you soon!

Happy Dancin’ in Technicolor

I don’t know if it’s age or what, but I’m blown away by just how many people live their lives miserably because they’re living in black and white. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic movies in black and white, but life is to be lived and seen as Dorothy did when she opened the door in Oz… Absolute Technicolor!

Not sure where people went wrong, but many are walking around skulking and grumbling; instead of kicking up their heels and experiencing it. Some, I think, watch far too much news and see only the negative in the world. Others, I have to wonder, just enjoy the negative… Myself??? I’m sitting here giggling over the possibility of jazz festivals and wine tastings. What makes us different because I, too am a grown up, but I love life and live it.

Some say it’s because I’ve lived through cancer (others say it’s a midlife thingy, but what do they know???), but I’m thinking that it’s just a matter of seeing life differently. We all know that the world has its bad, but some of us make a point to create good, create magic. That makes a HUGE difference!

We could leave this world at any given moment, so wasting time on complaining and being sour is or should be criminal. Don’t wait on a cancer diagnosis, divorce, or some other crisis to be what it takes to open your eyes. Life is a ride and vivid with color, don’t allow your life to slip by without noticing. If your complaint is that the world is full of bad news, then you’re just looking in the wrong places because there are sites out there full of “good news.” All you need to do is look for them.

And a piece of advice… Do the “Happy Dance.” You can’t be in a bad mood when doing the “Peanut’s Dance.” You think I’m kidding??? No way. I do it all the time and don’t care where I am. Did you know that doing it in the grocery store will always cause another person to do it and smiles every where? My challenge to you is to be brave and just do it. I’d do it with you. Just do it, you know you want to.

If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy