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    User: attypatty

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    PetraW wrote on attypatty's wall

    Dear Attypatty,

    I always wanted to thank you for a post you did on my question "Time after Cancer" five months ago. I was in a very low spot, had completed my chemo treatments, but just could not find my new purpose and direction in life. I had lived toward the moment of having chemo finished. But when I was at that point, the relief and feeling of accomplishment failed to come. I did not know what to do, my fear of the cancer coming back was always on my mind. There was always a little piece in my mind, that was on the look-out for symptoms. I was trying to find that deep trust again, that I had during all the worst valleys before. I was so determined to make it through and I did, but then it is as if I was not sure, which direction to choose after all this. I felt I was stumbling through my days, but had not yet found my new purpose, especially for myself and my life. I knew exactly what I wanted for my kids and my husband and our life together. It was as if I had been thrown out of my orbit and was somewhere circling through the universe.

    http://www.whatnext.com/questions/time-after-cancer/answers/new?auth_token=xtje3lspiyZ8IksXxpix&utm_source=acs:

    One of the things you wrote back then was this:

    Sometimes we only value something when it is taken from us. So if you are feeling this "stumbling," and loss of direction, it's because you are not willing to go "back" to what you were doing before. It may mean that what you were doing before didn't hold enough meaning and fulfillment for you. As you move forward, simply be open to new opportunities, confident that they will come (because they will, sometimes most unexpectedly). Let go of all the other stuff from before that doesn't make sense now. It's like picking up shells on the beach - you pick them up one by one until suddenly your hands are full and you can hold any more. So what happens when you see the next one, more beautiful than the rest? You can only pick it up if you put down some of the shells you are holding now. So put down the old shells, make room for the more beautiful ones to come.

    I cannot tell you how instrumental this paragraph was for my recovery from this very low phase in my journey. I made "stumbling" my new method of moving forward and I totally love the image of the shells at the beach. For some reason, both images opened a completely new door for me. I look back today, five months later and can say, that I have found my new direction. I have grown and can stand tall with a life time of experience. Two weeks ago I finally had my reconstructive surgery for my mastectomy breast after having had the expander for 15 months. My healthy breast had a lift. Even though I was doing very well for the last few months with my psyche and outlook on life, it is only now, that I feel the circle is completed. I feel free and ready to step into the rest of my life and it is only now, that I feel like a survivor. I know, that the cancer may come back one day, but I feel like I can deal with it then, the fear is no longer impacting my daily life or paralyzing me. The cancer experience has made me a person, so much more open, more courageous, with more depth, dimensions and capacities and ready to face life as it comes - fearless.

    Thank you for this amazing image you shared!

    1 Comment
    • attypatty's Avatar
      attypatty

      Dear Petra:
      Now it is my turn to thank you. And to apologize for not responding sooner - I just saw this post. It's my only complaint about this site- I don't know how to get notifications of posts when they occur. I am grateful and humbled that the imagery was able to help you. There are times when we "put something out there", as the saying goes, never knowing if it touches someone real. I am glad to help in some small way, and you should know that you helped me just as much. Your question made me think and let me know I was not alone in feeling many of the same things you were going through. Reaching out to you helped me clarify my own thoughts. It makes me feel better knowing I helped someone else feel better and isn't that what this site is all about?
      Thx, Patty

      over 4 years ago
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    Question: Time after cancer

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    PetraW asked a questionBreast Cancer

    Time after cancer

    8 answers
    • attypatty's Avatar
      attypatty

      I feel exactly the same way and I am still in treatment. But the truth is, whether we are in or out of treatment, fighting cancer or cancer-free, the best thing about cancer is that it gives you the one chance to re-evaluate your own life and do, for once, what's best for you. When we face death (and that's what we are really talking about here - the fact that death is reality, not some vague avoidable notion), life changes. Once we really know that life doesn't go on forever, we can question what we really want to do with the time we have on earth. We are no longer content to let it slip by, day after day, doing the things we "have" to do, working at a job that brings in money but no pleasure or fulfillment, doing all the household chores that take away the time we could be spending enjoying life, taking care of others and putting ourselves last. Once you know life's greatest secret - that each day comes but once, so don't waste it - you can begin to concentrate on doing what adds to life. Simple things like taking a walk in the sunshine, instead of doing the dishes; sitting down and talking to your children, instead of rushing off to an "important" business meeting; cooking a good meal with your husband, instead of complaining about all the things that need doing. We don't have to change who we are - cancer doesn't change that. But we can, and probably should, change what we do. We can embrace the cancer experience while rejecting the cancer. And this experience teaches every one of us, in a profound and meaningful way - and in a way that a cancer-free person can never understand -that every moment of life is remarkable, valuable, unique and unforgettable. Sometimes we only value something when it is taken from us. So if you are feeling this "stumbling," and loss of direction, it's because you are not willing to go "back" to what you were doing before. It may mean that what you were doing before didn't hold enough meaning and fulfillment for you. As you move forward, simply be open to new opportunities, confident that they will come (because they will, sometimes most unexpectedly). Let go of all the other stuff from before that doesn't make sense now. It's like picking up shells on the beach - you pick them up one by one until suddenly your hands are full and you can hold any more. So what happens when you see the next one, more beautiful than the rest? You can only pick it up if you put down some of the shells you are holding now. So put down the old shells, make room for the more beautiful ones to come.

      almost 5 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      After 2 1/2 years in remission, it struck me only about one month ago that I am a survivor - perhaps because I am remain in maintenance treatment. One day, I ended up on the ACS Survivor's home page and it just hit me. As I put it, I die a little each day, knowing that I have potentially no more than 6 months of life from here on in, should the cancer not want to be stopped for a third time. Yet, each one of us is marching toward our final day on this earth. Each day, a perfectly healthy person somewhere loses their life in traffic simply commuting to work. We cancer patients have the advantage of knowing that our life span is limited, and we have a daily reminder to live that day to the fullest.

      One thing that I have tried to avoid is to allow my cancer to define me. That subordinates my being to a simple malignancy, which devalues me as a person. It makes me a victim. The cancer has no spirit, but I do! I awaken each morning, thankful for that awakening. I give thanks before my feet hit the floor. This sets the tone for the start of the day. When I am aware of my breathing, I give thanks even for that. This journey has strengthened my family.

      I have realized a new purpose of offering encouragement to other patients and their loved ones. As well, I cannot and will not deny the huge role that faith has played in preparing me for cancer, sustaining me through it, and propelling me past it.

      At treatment, I see infants and children, teens and young adults. I had nearly 56 cancer-free years, so I have nothing to complain about.

      almost 5 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar
      hikerchick

      One day at a time. And I find it helpful that I do not "own" cancer and that it is not "my cancer." I am not a victim, nor do I wish to live like a victim. But I do, of course, watch my health closely. Really good reasons now to take good care of yourself and not put everyone and/or everything else ahead of yourself. I find I need to reassess priorities often.

      almost 5 years ago