My Personal Thoughts About Breast Cancer 10/24/08

Another day, another posting to hopefully make you think.  Before I start to share my thoughts, I want to let everyone know I will not be posting this weekend because we are actually going away for two days on a much needed break.

That is exactly what I want to talk about today, giving yourself a break when you really don’t think you should take one. 

You have been diagnosed, you have appointments all over the place, you have surgery, you possibly have radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  You might be looking at chemotherapy.  You may not be feeling well, you may be sick, exhausted, sad, angry, depressed and more.

As the old McDonald’s ad said “You deserve a break today……”  You can hear it in your head now.  Good, keep it there, hum it all day and act on it.

In the helter skelter world of breast cancer something is always happening and when you finally literally crawl into bed at night, you cannot turn your brain off.

I was four weeks into radiation therapy when I had to take a break.  I was a traveling medical auditor for a large hospital corporation at the time I was diagnosed.  Most of my work was in Atlanta, and I had formed a bond of friendship with the hospital auditors there.  I had absolutely no support at home in Virginia and I needed to be somewhere that I could feel the love.  I met with my Radiation Oncologist and asked her if I could skip a treatment on Friday and add it on to the end.  Much to my relief, she told me to go, have fun, relax, as it would make me a better person emotionally and physically.

I boarded a plane after my treatment on Thursday and I spent three glorious days with women who made me feel absolutely wonderful.

Being at home in Virginia was not being in my comfort zone.  My comfort zone was with my co-worker friends in Atlanta.  I escaped for three wonderful days. 

There are many ways to take a break during treatment and I am not going to list them here, you all know what makes you feel good, so do what makes you feel good.

I had a good friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer years ago, and one of the things she did that impressed me the most was during one of her toughest moments.  She boarded a plane and went to California and sat on the beach for 4 days because she always wanted to commune with the ocean.  She actually made the trip on her own, which made all of us a little nervous, but she made it through and told us those 4 days made her feel healthy again.  She felt normal.  She had her identity back.

I have heard that a lot over the years.  Women have told me that while going through treatment they lose their identities and who they are.  We become about our breast cancer, all about it.  And we need to be about it, but we can be all about it and still be ourselves.  Taking a break makes it about ourselves and it gives you back that feeling of being normal again even if it is only for a brief time.

Go ahead, take a break because you deserve a break today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next month – love yourself first!  Be selfish – make it all about you, stay the course, and I guarantee you that you will feel so much better and stronger.

As a follow up on my two previous posts on fear, I did remember to ask Larry what he is afraid of if anything, and this big strapping man told me he is afraid of heights.  This amazed me because this is a man who was a project manager in high rise construction.  Have you ever seen those elevators on the side of the construction project?  I am not sure I could go up in one.  Larry worked on the Sears Tower – he had to work past his fear for sure.

Next fall we have plans to take a break and head out to west to visit places we have never been.  One of those places is the Grand Canyon.  They have a glass sidewalk, and I intend to be on that sidewalk, I may be on it alone now that I know.   Or maybe Larry will face his fear, time will tell.  Speaking of time, that is it for now, I will be back here on Monday to take you through the end of this awareness month.


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