Life goes on. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t adjust to accommodate the changes in how a cancer survivor looks at life or wants to live. I have always been an on-the-go person, but each time I had cancer, I was stopped in my tracks. Literally. Focus was on treatments, healing, taking care of myself and getting the rest I needed. At times, in an odd way, I kind of lost awareness that I actually had cancer, because it was such a long ordeal, whether chemotherapy, radiation or surgeries. It became a way of life for a period of time.
And then you heal. You eventually discover and define your new “normal” after cancer, since nothing is the same. The struggle is real when you want to live simply in a very complicated world. When you want to take care of yourself, but you continue to put others first. When you always say “yes” because you don’t want to let anyone down. When it feels like there is no down time because we live in a world of technology. When you want a simple life, yet you are so thirsty to live and do new things that you sit back and watch your social calendar get overwhelming. When you realize your stress level is elevated as is your anxiety, and you recognize how detrimental that is to your health and well-being.
And then it just hits you. You realize it’s time to create a garden oasis to enjoy when you sit on the deck or front porch. It’s time to make your health a priority and exercise on a regular basis. It’s time to get your bike out and go for a ride just because it’s a beautiful day (and you haven’t ridden your bike in years). It’s time to plan a vacation and make R&R your top priority. It’s time to make your home so comfortable that being there is like a “staycation.” It’s time to open the windows to enjoy some fresh air, while dozing off to take a much-needed nap. It’s time to plan more leisurely activities with friends and loved ones – maybe having a cookout or hanging out at a pool. It’s time to take a vacation day from work with absolutely no agenda. It’s time to accept the fact that some things will take longer to get done when you put yourself first, but that is okay! It’s time to learn to gently say “no.”
Note to Self: Slow Down. It’s okay to make yourself a priority sometimes. As a cancer survivor, it is necessary; it’s not being selfish.
Share Your Thoughts
Throughout cancer treatment and during recovery, time moves at a rapid pace. What do you do to slow down and treat yourself? What activities help you find comfort during your cancer journey?