Life After the “C” Word

life after cancer

It’s been 5 months since I’ve ended treatment. In some ways I can’t remember not having “it” in my head and in other ways, there are parts that have become fuzzy already, almost like childbirth! These life changing moments are…well…life changing! And it has been completely eye opening to sit back and take stock on how cancer changed not just me, but our family. Hugely.

As of late, I have so much to be thankful for. The “c” thing is largely behind me. I have adjusted to the hormone therapy that will be the status quo for the next 5-10 years. I’ve been put into menopause and while much of that makes me feel like my body is going cray cray, it’s something that all of us women have to endure so I’m just doing it a bit earlier.  I had a bit of a scare recently with finding some weird lumps and bumps…but I’ve been tested and all has come back clear. I’m coming to terms with knowing that this might be what it looks like for the next while. And really, that’s a small price to pay. For all intents and purposes, the dragon has been slain.

Oddly, I still feel as though I’m processing it all. Now that we are settled back into routine, it’s almost like dealing with the aftershocks of an earthquake. The crisis is over…and yet, there is this residual stuff. Scott, as I’ve mentioned before, is steady eddy…if you want to see him get stressed put on the final game in the Stanley Cup, but cancer? Meh. I’m so fortunate for that. The kids are awesome..and our relationships have grown tighter and both Scott and I are just so darn proud of them. But truthfully, it’s been a challenge for them in many ways.

Some days I can package it neatly away, in a box with a ribbon tied on it. In fact, the majority of my days are this (Ok, except when it comes to my’s a daily punishment reminder hah!). The truth though, is that there are moments that that box comes hurtling out of the closet and pretty much hits me square in the face. I don’t think I’m necessarily different than most of you. Though our circumstances may (or may not) be different, each and every one of us has some “thing” that has caused us trauma or hurt and has changed us.

I am the first to say that I wish we all didn’t have to go through these yucky moments and yet, when I say that it has made me different, I would like to think that there has been a bit of a refining process…some corners were rubbed off that needed to be. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could recognize those rough edges and just make the adjustments we needed to? Ahh, but it doesn’t work that way. I recognize that for sure.

I hoped that this could start a conversation….where I share how we have been processing this life changing event…in the hopes that you could share with me how you work through your own life altering challenges. So let me start by sharing these 4 things that I’ve been working on:

  1. Spend your time with supportive friends & family.  Scott is my even keel/stabilizer, which fulfills a very important, and needed, role. I have some friends that are a soft touch and allow me to be like I’M FREAKING OUT. Ones that will listen to me melt down a bit. And then ones who reel me back in. I have been super careful to not put myself in amongst negative circles. Can’t do it.
  2. Get it out. Many people journal and wow, do I ever wish that I would do that more. It would be so amazing to be able to look back and read the “real-time” thoughts of the journey. For me, my way of getting it all out was to blog. And while I didn’t blog about it every day, I was able to speak about it when I felt comfortable. The result? I always felt lighter given that platform to share.
  3. Pour into someone else’s life. We all can tend to get a bit self-focused and the best thing is to start pouring energy into someone else. In the crisis moments, I felt a tremendous amount of comfort by spending time or talking to others that had similar experiences. That was a gift. And so, I am making an effort to connect with others who could use some encouragement. It’s not just about me!
  4. Call in re-enforcements. When I’m feeling like the emotions are overwhelming and just am unsure how to deal, I call on my counsellor for help in working it through. Let’s get rid of the crappy stigma that goes along with this, ok?? Sometimes, we’re just not equipped to figure it out on our own. I cannot emphasis enough how helpful this has been.

So there’s what I’ve been doing…how about you? I really believe that we need to help and support each other. And one way to do that is to share our experiences and talk about how we are keeping on KEEPING ON!

Wishing you all an awesome week xo Laurel

life after cancer6