It is that time of the year again! The holiday season is always eventful, full of making new memories with family and friends. And lots of shopping! However, cancer doesn’t go on holiday and may try to steal your joy.
I remember when I first discovered a lump in my breast just days before Thanksgiving. I had a needle biopsy on Black Friday! I felt so discouraged that this was happening to me at this time of year. Initially I was anxious and desperate to know my results. Looking back, I feel like I was holding my breath while I waited, hoping I didn’t have it. However, after learning that I did have cancer, I was somehow able to breathe. I ordered Chinese food, had my favorite wine and watched movies to my heart’s content.
I had decided that no kind of emotions could change the diagnosis, so I wanted to stay in the moment. I can only take one step at a time and make any adjustments along the way.
If you are a newly diagnosed survivor or metathriver, the holidays may be making you blue.
Here are five things you can do to help you enjoy the season!
Give yourself the opportunity to deal and heal. Breast cancer is devastating for anyone, at any age. It is important to first acknowledge this is the reality and give yourself permission to respond to that. This may include but is not limited to crying, extreme emotional upset, distancing oneself, or asking your doctor more questions to understand the diagnosis. Allowing yourself to deal with this diagnosis rather than remain in disbelief will help on your healing journey. By always being aware of what and how you are feeling, you can be honest about it and embrace what you require to heal physically and/or emotionally.
Our Newly Diagnosed Navigator will guide you through the choices and decisions that feel overwhelming. You are not alone.
2. Make a List and Check it Twice!
Most people you know are working on grocery lists for a holiday dinner, or the nice list for gifts. However, I offer that if you are newly diagnosed at this time of year to also think of a list of supporters. More times than not, the key people in your life whom you choose to share this with will support you and go the extra mile to cheer you up. If you feel you have no one to support you during this time, I encourage you to make a list of what you are grateful for. You may find that even in the face of cancer, there are still so many things to be thankful for … which may uplift your spirit!
3. Be Present
Naturally, as with anything we may feel anxious about, we obsess about the outcome. Try your best this holiday season to focus on the present by being present. I am in no way suggesting it is easy to cope with a diagnosis! However, I am urging you to not suffer now for later. Allow yourself to enjoy the good of each day. So, enjoy the good times with family and friends as best as you are able. If you are like me and enjoy alone time, fulfill your traditions of doing your favorite things, now. This may also help you to develop a mindset and willpower that will encourage you to enjoy every simple or grand gesture of loving moments life offers.
4. Have Faith
By definition, it is complete trust or confidence in something or someone. Some who have been diagnosed with breast cancer may feel their faith is being tested. I know I did! Around this time of year, there is an energy across the nation to reconnect in relationship with the God of our unique understanding, (as it is different for everyone). My hope is for you to be assured that this divine infinite energy abides within and empowers you through this experience known as cancer. May you also revisit the relationship with yourself. During this time of introspection and reconciliation with self, may you gain confidence in yourself to endure and be victorious over this diagnosis, every day. Know better days are ahead because we create them, by faith!
5. 20/20 Vision!
Have you taken the time to see who you are as a survivor? You are brave, transparent, fearless, a fighter and downright amazing! You are beautiful inside, out! Take a moment to think of all the virtues you had before cancer and that have developed on this journey. Now that you can clearly see how awesome you are even as you brave this battle, envision all you want to do and will do as a survivor! Cancer only called for an updated lense prescription, requiring strategic planning to experience anything you envision. As the year 2020 approaches, create a vision board, use a voice memo, planner or even a journal that you see the best version of yourself and the best for yourself as a survivor.
May you find these helpful, survivors. Happy holidays!
Patricia Fox is a new contributor at YSC. Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26, Patricia now shares her insights and deep wisdom in the hopes of encouraging other young adults like her. Read more about her and her work at thepinksistah.com.