Shay Moraga was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the beginning of 2016 and shares her journey with Desert Health® readers in this ongoing column. In the July/August issue, she shared her growing fear that her cancer had returned….
As I sat up in bed I prayed. I prayed to take this fear away from me and to give me the strength to call my doctor, set up the appointment, and to be ok with not being ok. I mean why was I trying to be brave? If there was one thing that I have learned throughout the cancer is that I needed to lean on my people. I needed my community to still get through this. It is not over yet and maybe it never will be. I still have a long way to go in this healing process both mentally and physically. I needed to find the compassion I speak about as a yoga teacher to my students and give that same speech to myself. So that is what I did.
The next day I called the doctor. I made the appointment and got in right away due to my history. I took all my lucky charms, crossed my fingers and my toes. I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “You are a survivor. You are going to be ok. You will live a long healthy life.” Then I said the most important thing to myself, “YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL.” I said it over and over again. I am not in control…just as I was not in control in the chemo room. The only thing I was in control of was how I reacted to how today was going to go, and every day after. How I was going to react to what the doctor was going to tell me. Looking in the mirror I needed to remind myself that I did this once and if I had to, I could fight again.
Thankfully that was not to happen. The doctor said that the lump I was now feeling was new scar tissue. With a sigh of relief, I vowed to do what I did all throughout my treatments. I needed to go to yoga and meditate on my feelings. I wrote down what my triggers were and the worst possible thing I feared. In the end, I realized I had wasted my energy and happiness over being in fear.
There are no directions for having cancer. Each one of us has our own very personal journey with this disease. Only a cancer patient really understands the feelings that come along with this journey. We have to make it up as we go, to be able to feel what we need and then learn from it to move on.
Yoga helped save my life and continues to do so today. I need to remember my life has been completely changed and through my daily practice, I am able to sit with my feelings, acknowledge them, and then let them go.