Finding Strength While Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Anyone living with metastatic breast cancer will tell you that a common phrase they hear is, "You are so strong!" But where do we find our strength? Some days it is easy, while on others it can seem impossible. It may require digging a little deep, but our strength is always there. Often when we think of strength we envision the physical variety, but there are other kinds of strength, too, such as mental and emotional. Metastatic breast cancer can tax your strength on every level. The key is learning how to replenish it!
Getting by with help from friends
Being single and living with this disease is not for the faint of heart, but having an army of amazing friends sure does make it easier. When I am weak, tired, and feeling defeated, I know I have people I can call upon to help me. It could be a local friend watching my children so I can rest, or a far-away-friend ordering us dinner so I don't have to have the stress of cooking, or someone sending me an inspirational card or message to give me a morale-boost. My friends give me strength in so many ways, and on my good days, I try to return the favor. As Ram Dass said, "We are all just walking each other home."
Learning when to rest
I don't know about you, but one of my greatest challenges is learning when to rest. I still forget that I don't have the stamina I used to pre-cancer, and am often hard on myself. Resting for me used to mean taking a nap, or a bath, perhaps sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix. It was solely the physical sense. But now I know it can look like a lot of different things. When I am overwhelmed, my mind needs rest, too. I have learned when to turn off the electronics, activate the "away" message when to save the Amazon orders and the online banking for tomorrow. This also applies to my emotions. I once took on so much, but living with metastatic breast cancer can really drain me emotionally as well. Some days when I am weak in that regard, I know it is not the right time for me to hear someone complaining about something, or my children fighting, or anything involving conflict. Learning when to rest physically, mentally, and emotionally has helped me recover my strength exponentially.
Finding my strength is sometimes synonymous with letting loose and having fun. Living with metastatic breast cancer can be stressful. Last weekend, before starting chemotherapy after a short break, I decided to take my children away to the mountains. We played in the woods, explored old caves, took the dog for a long hike along a creek, ate lunch at an old 1800's saloon, even had a "hotel party" in the hot tub as the sun was setting. It was the best weekend ever, with a lot of laughs. It really gave me the strength to march back into the cancer center and get my treatment. I truly felt renewed in every sense.
Finding strength while living with MBC
Strength is physical, mental, emotional and it is tested all the time as a forever cancer patient. But having the support of others, learning when and how to rest, and remembering to have fun helps us to stay as strong as possible for as long as possible. When we live with metastatic breast cancer, we need as much strength as we can get!
Do you have an MBC mentor/mentee?