Good Vibes Only: A Cancer Journey
After you survive cancer you become an expert by experience and are often the first or second call to ask questions or get referrals from a newly diagnosed friend or family member.
Over the past two years since I have been NED (no evidence of detection), I have had over 10 loved ones newly diagnosed. I have chosen to stay within the cancer realm and dedicate my life to be an advocate and to love others through their own cancer journey. When most people see me after not seeing me for a while, they ask “How are you doing?” but it is most always with a look that only we as a cancer survivor knows too well. The cancer journey never ends for those of us who have had it. Fear of it coming back will always be in the back of our minds.
With some recent health scares, I find fear slowly creeping back into my life and those of you who think I have my life completely together must know I do not. I must seek help to continue to heal and overcome fear daily. Let’s be honest; it is a little bit of post-traumatic stress disorder. I now learn ways to cope and navigate the fear and anxiety that I have from time to time.
So how do you do it? Here are 5 tips that have helped me, and I hope will help you…
- Wake up in the morning and the first thing you say to yourself is, “What a blessing it is to be alive.” When you were first diagnosed, you didn’t know if you would live, and today is a gift. Good or bad, it is one more day to breathe, to be with our loved ones and to make a difference.
- Write in a journal, a blog, or start that autobiography. Writing your feelings and words down on paper – even if no one else ever sees it – has such a powerful, healing effect.
- Count your blessings. What are you grateful for today? Family, friends, your pets, food, a job? It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you write them down each day you may realize we have a lot to be grateful for that we often take for granted.
- Lean on family and friends for support. Find a support group or talk to a trained oncology social worker. Ask for help when you need it. Cancer aftermath can lead to things like depression. Talk to somebody; ask for help; you are never alone.
- Plan a self-fun goal: what is something you’ve wanted to do but never have? That fun goal needs to happen. YOU BEAT CANCER and YOU DESERVE IT! Maybe you’ve wanted to trade in your vehicle for that new car…or try a new hairstyle. How about that road trip or vacation you wanted to take but never thought you had the time to do it. Take the time now.
Shay Moraga, E-RYT500, is a triple negative breast cancer survivor. Each week she teaches Yoga for Cancer Caretakers and Survivors at Eisenhower Health’s Lucy Curci Center. You can contact Shay by email at email@example.com or reach out on social media at Namaste with Shay.