Empowerment

“Every day is a gift. Open It with Joy”

This is a lovely affirmation from a Ford Warriors In Pink bookmark and it is a wonderful reminder in which to start off each day. I actually use it as part of a morning prayer of thanks. I recognize, however, that it is harder to “open it with joy” when you are facing diagnosis, surgery, chemo, or radiation as part of your day. Cancer is often referred to as a journey because there are phases (both physical and emotional) that must be “traveled” through. There are no short cuts along the way. Each phase holds its own challenges and trauma. Often when all the treatment is completed, the life beyond cancer becomes a time of fear and uncertainty. Your medical support and testing is not as frequent. My oncologist referred to it as “your security blanket is gone” when I completed my last treatment and mentioned my new trepidation. Will the cancer recur? That’s the big question in our minds. Although the fear may never go away completely, fear of recurrence should diminish over time (unless something triggers our fear, such as a friend or relative being diagnosed with cancer or we begin experiencing a pain previously associated with cancer). I have found that the fear does diminish and using coping strategies such as exercise, massage, meditation, calming self-statements/affirmations, prayer, and yoga are all helpful in accomplishing this goal.

InCure’s 7th Annual Cancer Guide they have added an additional suggestion: creating a “WORRY LIST.”

Make a list of worries and include specific examples. Many worries look different when written out, and may seem less problematic. Even the simple task of expressing specific concerns may release some of their power.

Write down every recollection of worries that actually materialized in some concrete way. Scan the notes and find the number of times a “false alarm” outnumbered the times a worry became reality.

Every day at about the same time, revisit the list, carefully noting how, since the day before, nothing actually happened. Allow a specific amount of time for this activity and cut down the time allowed for “worry list” review each week until it is diminished to one minute each day.

Seek out someone who is dealing with cancer and share this approach with them. Showing others that worry is a drain on energy may lift the spirits of other survivors, as well.

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