By: Kara Daniels, LCSW
I had breast cancer at 31 years old. How could this happen to me? I work out often, quit smoking 7 years ago, eat healthy and thought I was healthy. I was in shock and terrified. With much research, doctors appointments and self-exploration of what was the best choice for me, I had made my choice to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I was terrified and didn’t know what would come after that. Was I going to live? What would they find after the tumor was removed? What would be required of me after the surgery as treatment? What other decisions would I have to face? Most importantly was the question of Am I going to live?
During this time, I had an experience I can explain best by beginning with an analogy that maybe you can relate to. Here goes at my attempt to explain this… Have you ever had a relationship with a significant other, you break up for good reason such as there was more negative happening in the relationship than good or the relationship was toxic? After the breakup and due to the heart ache suddenly you found yourself in your head glorifying the person or relationship. You found yourself only seeing the good without the microscope on the bad and put the person on a pedestal? This flip of script in your head happened naturally when before you could only think of the negative. I’m not saying this is healthy, but at some point we’ve probably all done this on some level. Now, how does this relate to my breast cancer experience…
My life was decent, but I was kindof just coasting through it and often stressed or let small things bother me. Suddenly when I didn’t know if I was going to live or die, everything in life looked great, felt great and aside from my fear related to the cancer, I was on cloud nine appreciating things in life that I didn’t pay much mind to previously. I’ve always enjoyed going for runs or walks outside, but I recall during this time my senses were heightened. I have a vivid memory of weeks before my first surgery to have my mastectomy and begin the reconstruction process, I went on a walk on a beautiful day. I never felt the breeze, smelled the air, or saw the trees, sky and scenery quite as clearly as I did that day. Breast Cancer took lenses off my eyes that I didn’t realize needed removing. To go along with my analogy above, there were and are bad things in my life, but once I feared my life ending, I only saw and felt the good in my life. In a healthy way, breast cancer caused me to glorify life. At that time, this came naturally and I continue to work hard daily to remember the feeling of the natural high of my heightened senses, feelings and perspective of the wonderful, greatness life has to offer. I’m continually growing in the practice of now living a mindful, purposeful and aware life. Instead of seeing my to do list as stressful, I try to see the tasks as symbols of living and find the joy in doing them.
This was perfect! I’m dressed in pink and the streets were decorated with hanging pink bras and Breast Cancer ribbons. I’m a proud breast cancer survivor!
I’m offering a FREE Breast Cancer Support Group for those with or in remission from Breast Cancer. Please call or sign up at THMHC.com, 727-520-9447.
Also, for the month of October I’m offering 2 people up to 4 FREE sessions each to help cope with their past or current Breast Cancer. Call to schedule today! 727-520-9447.