I SURVIVED PANCREATIC CANCER, NOW WHAT?
My vision of when chemotherapy ended was something like this....Ticker tape parade - You know the one that professional sports teams get when they win a championship. I know, it sounds a bit far fetched, but hey this is my dream! Lol.....Ringing a bell - To signify the end of my treatment and to exclaim...I MADE it! A HUGE party of family and friends that would be there to celebrate my coming home ..and cancer free! Now, for the reality. There was no ringing of a bell, or ticker tape parade. Just a person, whose life was COMPLETELY flipped upside down. Whose outward body may only be 51 but internally is about 71. DON'T get me wrong...I am truly BLESSED to still be here! But after making it through the storm ( Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer), which I was told I wouldn't survive...how do you pick up the pieces and just start over. What does that even mean...after the sheer devastation of your life. How do you just move on!? Society tells us that we should just go back to our normal, pre-cancer routine. But I am screaming, "HOW can this be!?" My battle with cancer has forever changed how I think, how I live....but most importantly, ME. Physically, I have been decimated by the toll chemotherapy took on me. Mentally, I am in constant P.T.S.D. mode (I'm learning how to deal with this...slowly, with counseling). How do you move on from this devastation!??
• I say in baby steps. - I wish this wasn't the case, but it is. My impatient self is learning this slowly. I'm learning that it is OK not to be strong all the time...as it is ok to make yourself and your healing a priority too.
• Take charge of your mental health - Your mind is either your biggest problem or your biggest asset! YOU have to choose! See a counselor is my suggestion...it has impacted me in such a positive way.
• Find what feeds your SOUL....and do it! - Cancer taught me not to take things for granted! Why work at a job that gives you nothing but stress. Find your calling...you will be amazed how easy this is when you take time to think about it!
• Get OUTDOORS! - Nature has a way of de-stressing us! Whether it is fresh air, sunshine, the ocean, hiking...it all teaches us to be present and take in the beauty of the here and now.
• Disconnect with your phone/Social media. - Social media can be a double edged sword. It's great to stay connected with family and friends, but have you ever found yourself aimlessly scrolling!? Turn off your phone and connect with family and friends...in the old fashioned way, by calling or visiting!
These are all things I'm working on daily! It's a slow process, but things that are worth it...take time. I am learning patience with myself and my process of learning to live a NEW normal after being decimated by chemotherapy. It's not an overnight fix, but yet another journey of self discovery.