A woman has been climbing many mountains and looks at what's ahead

Dealing With the "Cancer-stones" That Mark My Calendar

Every year, at the start of the new year I am reminded of when I was told I had cancer. I was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2015. When March approaches I start thinking of that day I felt the lump and told the doctor. It was a Tuesday, March 3rd, and by that Friday, March 6th as I was sitting at my parent's kitchen table I was told I had stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer.

Reminders

As I get further away from my diagnosis everyday is not consumed with thoughts of cancer (as much) as it once was, but the dates, and there are many of them, do stir up feelings that can be overwhelming and even suffocating at times.

  • My daughter's birthday April 13th - a joyous day but also a very real day that was part of the cancer journey. They induced me on a Monday so they could keep me on my chemo schedule for Friday, April 17th of that week (and have time to sneak in a blood transfusion that Wednesday to ensure my labs were where they needed to be).
  • July 2nd - I finished my last chemo treatment.
  • August 7th - I had surgery and a week later was told my surgery was a success and they had removed the cancer.
  • November 16th - I was done with radiation treatments.

Five years since my diagnosis

As we start 2020 I am coming into the 5-year mark of all these milestones or ("cancer-stones") as I refer to them. And having dealt with some recent recurrences and deaths of women close to me and my diagnosis (women who have journeyed down the same path as me), I am filled with more anxiety than I thought I would be coming into year 5.

Here are some of the ways I am coping with my "cancer-stones" are:

  1. Acknowledging the milestones to people close to me - Letting people close to me know how I am feeling about these upcoming dates.
  2. Meditating - There is something calming and powerful about meditation. I don’t do it for very long but taking time to set a few daily intentions and spend a minute breathing deeply is very helpful
  3. Physical wellbeing - I recently made a deal with myself to focus more on my physical wellbeing. So I have promised myself 4 workouts a week. My husband and I promised this to each other. Juggling 3 kids under 6, full-time jobs and the craziness of life sometimes this gets skipped but we understand and know the benefits of making this a priority for ourselves and each other!

What helps you dealing with your "cancer-stones"?

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