Cancer, It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint!

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/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

New Beginnings After Breast Cancer - A Survivor's Story

So much comes up when we receive our initial cancer diagnosis. I remember receiving mine and I immediately reframed it to taking cancer out of the equation. I told my husband right there in the moment: “this isn’t cancer, this is the boob job I always wanted.” And yes, the tears definitely fell from my eyes throughout the experience, but I kept an Rx of humor in my back pocket along with many other coping skills I had collected over the years.

For me personally, I was able to embrace a positive mindset immediately because of the lengthy and rocky relationship I had with cancer. I was caregiver to my mother who died of complications of being treated with chemo for her stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2001. She passed away and 3 days later I gave birth to my first born. To say the least, this was a very dark period for me but when I came out of it I vowed to turn all of my negative life events into positive ones. This was a conscious choice that I made on how I wanted to live my life moving forward. It helped me shed so much of the negativity that surrounded me as a child. It further lead me to being very proactive in my own health, pursuing genetic testing and becoming a top individual fundraiser for women’s cancers for an organization based in NYC and LA. Then I had the experience of my sister being diagnosed with breast cancer and a year later I received the same diagnosis.

I had a lot of tools to get me through my diagnosis and treatment. However, I still went through the entire process. Initially, I had feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, followed by doubt and a little depression which ultimately lead me to acceptance. I had doubts on what my life would look like “after cancer” and how people would receive me. Getting through and to all of these emotions is key to getting to a place of peace and acceptance. When you get to that point you are fully able to accept what has been placed on your doorstep so that you can put your efforts into working on what you can control in your life and letting go of what you can’t. What you can do is take control of your health and your life from this point on.

Giving up control of “doing it all” for the sake of others and getting support is also critical, followed by self-care. There is no other way to fully heal unless you learn to go down this path. So many of my clients have trouble giving up the old mindset of: “If I don’t do it myself, it won’t get done” or finally coming to the place where they realize everything they have done up until this point in their lives has been to please others and they rarely do anything for themselves first. They get to a place where they realize that it is “OK” to allow them to receive!

You see, with a cancer diagnosis, not only do thoughts and emotions come up around a diagnosis and treatment, they also come up about who you are at your core. I am not one to minimize the impact of a cancer diagnosis (I saw my mother through her last days in hospice, they are forever etched in my mind and I have had my own physical and emotional journey with breast cancer) but I try to help my clients come to a place where they can see the opportunity to create awareness of who they are,  how they are living and how they can use this life altering experiencing to reassess their lives to reduce stress which feeds not only physical healing but in the mind as well and making choices to pursue the life you have always wanted to live. This can include looking at yourself and why you act as you do on a deeper level, looking at your relationships to see which serve you and those that do not, looking at the patterns in your lifestyle that have kept you on the same page and left you wondering why you are still there and so much more. When you go to your core to find out who you really are vs. who you think you should be, magical things can happen.

The next step is taking action and making choices to change your life. The choice is yours!


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/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Have You Been Affected By Breast Cancer?

  • Have you been recently diagnosed with breast cancer? Are you overwhelmed by all of the draining thoughts and emotions that you are experiencing?
  • Are you in the middle of treatment and struggling with fatigue and experiencing stress?
  • Have you just finished treatment and feel like all of a sudden you are lost, your life has come to a complete halt or you feel like you have fallen off of a cliff?

If you fall into any of the above categories you are reading the right post!

I have the experience of being a caregiver to my mom, seeing my sister through a diagnosis of breast cancer and I have walked in your shoes as a breast cancer survivor myself and now as a survivorship coach. Through the incredible world of coaching, I help women cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience so that they can feel confident and in control of their lives again.

Unlike others that you are trying to connect to, I totally get where you are, what you are going through and trust me…EVERYTHING that you are experiencing is perfectly valid and normal as you walk through these life altering events! On top of all of, other “stuff” comes up as you walk each step along the way.  You change, relationships change, and your career may change. Life is all about change. The good news is that once we know and accept that change is a constant in our lives, we can manage it and that is all about the commitment that you have to loving yourself as an individual.  The next step is making a choice and commitment to yourself.

I help women going through each of the above stages transform their lives by owning and experiencing their emotions, getting to the bottom of where they are coming from and letting them pass so that you can shift to being present of a place of healing energy. I will educate you and ask you questions around how you can manage stress and reduce fatigue by changing your thoughts, patterns, and as a result your lifestyle.  We will look at how you show up in life, how that suits you and what you want to keep and what you want to let go of or change.  We will also work on adjusting on going from treatment back to daily living. In the relationship as coach and client you will be able to finally move from being “stuck” to a place to where you are feeling peaceful, at ease, accepting of and I control of your life once again.

Please reach out to me if you are interested in working together and entering into a coaching relationship where we will create a safe and healing environment and the space to create sustainable change in living your New Beginning.


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/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Fear Around Cancer Recurrence

I was at a conference this weekend, among a group of women who had metastatic breast cancer. The courage and the fear that these women had was amazing! They all came to the discussion wanting answers to individual questions and the group provided a safe place for them to share all of their fears and accomplishments. It was amazing how at the beginning of the discussion the energy was kind of wary in the room, but by the end of the discussion there was a sense of unity among the group!

One woman expressed how she had beat the disease for many years without recurrence, but now because of that length of time that had gone by, she had a feeling that “the other shoe might drop” and that maybe it was time for her disease to recur. She also expressed that if and when she passed from her disease she was concerned about all of the grief and pain her children would have to endure.

Fear of recurrence is a very real, valid and normal feeling for survivors of any cancer and it is always there lurking in the back of one’s mind. As a survivorship coach it was amazing what the group, myself included, tried to share with this woman and that was to shift her perspective to not seeing the length of her “well-being” as a fear, but more of an accomplishment of all of the achievements since her diagnosis and perhaps the longer “out” since diagnosis and treatment she was, how much better life could be. We also shared a change of perception of why not enjoying her children and have her children enjoy her in the here and now in lieu of thinking about the future, which often causes fear and anxiety.

For myself, I will admit, fear of recurrence is always there for me, but I don’t live my life daily in that state or rather I reframe my thoughts so see and live a better picture. I have learned that there are triggers for me that prompt my fear of recurrence. Since I have had so many losses in my life, e.g., divorce, loss of my mom and days later giving birth to my daughter, and via the diagnosis of breast cancer and losing the “old me” that when things start going well for me and in a very energetic direction, that is when my fear of recurrence comes in. Somewhat like this woman, when things are going my way, thoughts like: “Omg, things are going so well, this is too good to be true, my cancer must be coming back!!!” come up for me. This can be a very real and frightening experience and it can bring you back to the day of diagnosis. When these draining thoughts come up for me I catch myself and tell myself that the messages that I am hearing are my “trigger points” and that they are coming from an old voice inside of my head that is no longer serving me. Once I get to this place I am able to shift and refocus my thoughts to the here and now.

If you think about it, the here and now is all any of us really have so why not inhale and embrace every moment of it. Just remember a few things: you are not alone and all of the thoughts, feelings that are coming up for you are perfectly valid and normal for where you are. The thing is, you have a choice to change your thoughts and that can change your life!

If you are need some support in your journey in this regard, reach out to me or another professional. You can live a life of peace and happiness with cancer.  Cancer does not define you, you define you and changing your thoughts can create sustainable change for you! 

Coaching provides a safe, confidential environment for you to share your experiences, while collecting tools to shift your perspective from draining thoughts to healing thoughts.  You can email me at gina@newbeginningswithgina.com, visit my fb page: facebook.com/ginacostacoach, visit my website: gina@ewbeginningswithgina.com or just give me a call 917-882-2402. 


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/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Leaning Into Gratitude To Cope With A Loved One’s Cancer

Russ Terry

Russ Terry

The C word.  Cancer.  No one wants to hear it, especially from an immediate family member.  A few weeks ago, my Mom phoned with startling news:  her annual mammogram had turned up something “highly suspicious for malignancy.” I was stunned, shaken, sad, upset, scared.  You name it and I felt it – such a range of emotions.  I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it.  It’s been a rough few weeks.

On the positive side, however, there’s so much I have been grateful for in this situation.  Oh, let me count the ways:

1.       I’m grateful that she’s gotten her mammogram every year for 30 years and does a self-exam on the first of every month.  (Great advice for all women!)  Even if it did turn out to be cancer, I was optimistic that it was caught early and hopeful that this time next year we could not only go on the vacation to Italy that we’ve been planning, but could use the occasion to celebrate life, health, how much we love each other, and our Italian heritage, of which we’re very proud!

2.       I’m grateful for an incredibly wise and supportive group of colleagues.  Right before this all happened, I came to know not one or two but THREE people who would prove immensely helpful.  Two are breast cancer survivors and one is an expert on grief.  It’s like God planted them in my life to make sure I was OK.  Wow.

3.       My friends have been excellent.  I’m so grateful for their support, prayers, positive thinking and encouragement.  Thinking about them makes me smile.  So many have passed on good wishes to me, which I have forwarded to my Mom.  She is grateful, too, which makes me even happier to have all of them – and her – in my life.

4.       I’m so glad I have a job that’s flexible and enabled me to be by her side for her pre-lumpectomy consultation with her surgeon.  I’m grateful for the doctor and his calmness, and that my Mom, my sister and my Mom’s significant other could all be there with her.  We even went out to eat afterward, which we otherwise would never have done on a random Wednesday in early August.  It was lovely!

5.       Finally, I’m grateful that we got some very good news within the last few days.  Although Mom does have breast cancer, it has not spread. The surgeon said that he’ll likely be able to get everything out when he does the lumpectomy (on September 11th, please keep us in your prayers), and that she won’t need chemotherapy.  Phew!  What a relief.

When I shared the good news with people who are grappling with more difficult cancer experiences, I felt so guilty.  But they were incredibly happy for me.  I’m grateful
for their generous spirits.

You may get good news.  You may not.  Either way, you can always find something to be grateful for, even in tough situations — and now I know ESPECIALLY in tough situations.

Interesting postscript: I sent this to my Mom for her review before submitting it.  I wanted to make sure she was OK with it.  Here’s what she said: “Even if the diagnosis had been the type that needed chemo and radiation I would still be positive because more and more people are surviving cancer.” So inspiring, right??


For information on Russ, visit his website www.russterrylifecoach.com.

Russ Terry and Grief Coach, Jill Smolowe, are co-hosting an in-person workshop, “The Grief-Gratitude Connection,” to be held in New York City on September 15.  For more info and to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-grief-gratitude-connection-strategies-for-easing-the-stress-of-caregiving-and-the-pain-of-loss-tickets-9972777847