When surgeries and treatment are over it’s time to embark on new territory. Adjusting to life after treatment can be challenging. Treatments and doctor visits stop and in some cases survivors can feel very alone and isolated. You can be left with the feeling of: “What direction do I go in now? I feel so lost!” These feelings and emotions that come up at this stage of the journey are completely valid and normal for what you are going through. Don’t forget, for the last year to two years you have probably been using all of the energy that you have to get from point “A” to “B” and all of your doctors, nurses and other caregivers have become your family over the months and years of treatment. So when the routine ends, of course you are left feeling a little bewildered as to where to turn next.
During this time, your relationships may have also changed along with other changes like career adjustments, eating and exercise habits. You may also be feeling fatigue as a result of anesthesia’s, chemotherapy or hormone therapies. Your energy and engagement definitely feel different as well.
Although this can feel like a downer to most survivors in that moment of discovery, the good news is that we all have choices and there are so many options open to us. Consider this a time for recreating your life and your perspective of how you view your life and how you want to live it moving forward. It is really all an education and growth process. Some of the choices that we can make from the “get go” are letting go of how you “used to do things”, e.g., constantly picking up around the house and making sure laundry is folded immediately and that the house is pristine or whatever your “used to be” modus of operation was. This is the time to learn to let go of the little things take the time to focus on what matters, mainly healing and living! Learn to ask for help, delegate to others and most of all exercise self-care! One of the best ways, aside of physical activity, to decrease fatigue is to decrease stress levels and this may mean doing less, or doing things differently and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can open you up to so much more of what you really want to do. You might also want to give yourself permission to take a break or nap or simply take some “alone” time for yourself to reflect on what is next for you.
I encourage my clients to take a look back and embrace how far they have come, then to look at their old way of doing things to see if those old thoughts and behaviors still serve them. In many cases, your eyes can be opened to a whole new way of living and you might even be wondering why you hadn’t made these choices in the past. The answer to that question really doesn’t matter, what matters is that you realize that you have these choices in the now are you are ready to start acting upon them.
Again, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the process can be an enlightening one! If you need support along the way, contact me!
Gina Costa, CPC, ELI-MP is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC, which helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. To learn more about Gina and her coaching practice, visit http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/