#9: Treatment Has Ended, What Now?
What I've come to realize is that after treatment ends...that time when we feel confused, scared, completely wiped out and left feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under us...is the time that we put pressure on ourselves... or feel it from others, to just jump right back into our pre-cancer life.
I found this quote the other day...and boy, did it hit hard, because I feel like this is so often how we feel after our breast cancer journey.
“You can be shattered and you can put yourself back together piece by piece until one day you wake up and realize that you have put yourself back together completely differently.
That you are whole, finally, and strong - but you are now a different shape, a different size…and no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot fit into your old life anymore.
You are like a snake trying to fit into old, dead skin, or a butterfly trying to crawl back into the cocoon. Suddenly you know that you just do not fit.
And you have become a woman who doesn’t ignore her knowing. Who doesn’t pretend she doesn’t know. Because pretending makes you sick.
And you remember that you never promised yourself an easy life, but you did promise yourself a true one.” - Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior
That feeling of not wanting to let people down...
That pushing ourselves to the limit, because it's what we think we should be doing... we are often just trying to make everyone else happy, and not let them down...right?
IT IS SUCKING US DRY!!
And then we wonder why we feel like we're running on fumes all the time.
So, what can we do to start putting the pieces together again? So that we can start to get our energy back and start feeling like we can participate in the day to day of our lives again.
STEP #1: We have to allow ourselves time to heal...and after treatment ends is when the true physical, mental and emotional healing begin!
And it takes time!!
In fact, there's even an equation:
A = Date of Diagnosis
B = Date of Last Active Treatment (chemo/radiation/surgery, not including continuing meds)
C = B - A = Approximate length of time before you begin to feel like yourself again.
To give you an example, here are my dates:
A = Date of diagnosis = July 2018
B = Date of Last Active Treatment (my last surgery, although I'm on Letrozole) = July 2020
C = Approx. time of recovery = 2 Years!
It's important to be kind to yourself during this time, start to recognize what YOU want and need... and use this time frame to help you understand why we don't just magically feel energized and the same as before our diagnosis immediately.
STEP #2: Stop trying to go back. As much as you might try, we can't go back...we are simply not the same person after everything that we have been through.
Breast Cancer changes us, but it doesn't need to be a bad thing...I actually believe in my soul, that it's an opportunity for us to put the pieces back together in a way that actually fits us much better. Where we no longer feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole!! Where we start to focus on our needs and desires, on who we really are and not just trying to fit into everyone else's expectations.
I felt this way for decades...like I didn't belong, like I was a square peg, trying to fit into a round whole...until I realized that I had the opportunity to change, to do things differently, to step away from what my family, culture, the world had told me that I should be and what I used to believe.
And although nobody can walk that healing journey for us, and we may feel very alone, always remember that even the strongest of hero's need a support system, a partner, a friend, a mentor...someone to lean on for the days when the our spirits feel worn and tired.
STEP #3: I'd like to introduce you to the concept of the COCOON...
The cocoon is the place where you sew yourself back together before you step out into a new life; the idea of this may feel a bit scary and you may ask how do we prepare ourselves for a future that holds the unexpected?
You may find yourself paralyzed by this not-knowingness; feeling like it's an impossible task.
You may have even been practicing moments of "Cocooness" wrapping yourself in snuggly blankets, wanting to hide under the covers, wanting to be alone and not around others. I now recognize that I was doing a whole lot of this during the months that followed treatment ending.
Now, imagine the cocoon as a metaphor for the transformation that helps us learn to embrace and honor our truth with courage, grace and space.
Feeling afraid to step into the cocoon, is not unusual, and you may recognize this as you are fighting for things to remain the same as before your diagnosis...perhaps it might feel like you're giving up on your dreams, or that everything in your life up until now had been a lie?
But, perhaps this transformation looks more like this...
Stepping out of the prison of unrealistic expectations, away from the cruel and harsh inner voice who is constantly nagging away on repeat in your head, away from feeling like no matter what, you're never enough, and wondering if you'll ever truly feel like you belong.
This is what's possible...when you simply decide it's time to no longer feel like everything you do is for everyone else...that YOU MATTER TOO!
STEP 4: I invite you to trade that existence in for a life of freedom and authenticity...where you get to shine your light so brightly, where you KNOW and trust in who you are, where your purpose on earth is so clear, where you can speak your mind without fear of being judged, where you feel actually understood, and life just feels easier and more joy filled, with you feeling confident in your skin, no matter how many scars.
You see the cocoon wasn't the end...it was the beginning.
Looking back, I realized that after every major trauma over the past 7 years and there have been many...
Just the highlights:
- Life-altering car accident,
- Loss of my mum, dad and younger brother,
- Moved 7 times in 8 years (including to and from the Caribbean),
- Hubby in a motorcycle accident almost losing his right arm,
- Zika. virus,
- Shingles and then of course
- Breast Cancer, BRCA2, Breast Implant Illness
I've learned to go into my cocoon...the timeframe varies, and sometimes it's been delayed when traumas have been back to back, but I've intuitively done it each and every time.
Yes, to heal...yes to nurture myself and practice self-care like it's going out of style...but also take a non-judgmental look at my life and see where I get to change. (This is what I guide you through in my VIP Group Coaching Program, Thrivership School)
You see, as you can imagine...after going through so many traumas, in such a short time frame, I've become quite the expert at bouncing back...not only that, but bounce back higher, brighter and more confident in my skin each and every time!
STEP #5: Maybe you're here reading this and thinking "I don't even know where to start...maybe I'm ready for the cocoon, but it still feels a little scary"
If that sounds like you, I'd love to offer you a little gift (because I know I didn't learn these lessons to keep them to myself!) ...
☕️ How would you like to have a virtual cup of tea and a little chat? Oh, I forgot to say, it's FREE...as I said a gift from me to you. BOOK YOUR FREE 45-MIN TRANSFORMATION CHAT WITH KARIN HERE.
Complete transparency: After our chat, if we both feel like I might be the right person to support you in your transformation, then I will extend an invitation to join us in Thrivership School. It's purely an invitation, there is no obligation whatsoever ...
Let's do a quick recap...
STEP #1: We have to allow ourselves time to heal
STEP #2: Stop trying to go back
STEP #3: I'd like to introduce you to the concept of the COCOON...
STEP 4: Trade in just existing for a life of freedom and authenticity
STEP #5: Let's have a cup of tea and a chat - BOOK YOUR CALL HERE