My last article talked about making changes after cancer and how cancer can cause us to “ask the big questions” which can lead us toward re-evaluating what we’re willing to tolerate in our lives and can lead us toward change. I had some questions/comments about this article. Some folks were asking themselves, “What if I’m not asking the ‘big questions?’ What if I’m not making big changes?”
My response to these questions: That’s OK! Everyone is so different. Not every cancer survivor wants to make big changes in their lives. Some people want to get back to the way their lives were before cancer, because they had a great life before they were hit with this illness. Some people may want things to be different, but they just don’t have the energy to make any changes at the moment. Whether you are or aren’t making changes in your life post-cancer, that’s OK! You can honor wherever you are in the process of recovering from cancer. You can honor the way you’re recovering from cancer.
And in regards to the “big questions” in life, like, “Deep down inside, what’s most important to me?” and “What’s most meaningful in my life?” sometimes we need to have some time NOT to ask them or think about them. They can take some pondering and talking about to find some answers, and sometimes we just need to rest and recover, and do what needs to get done in our day-to-day lives. Maybe you have a feeling deep inside that something needs to change, but you’re not sure what yet. Maybe you want to ask these questions, but you’re not ready yet. And that’s OK!
When we find some answers to these questions, they can give us a direction. We may already be heading in that direction, or we may have been heading in that direction before cancer, and cancer took us off track. Or, as I said in the last article, these questions can be hard to think about because we may not have been living our lives as close to that direction as we might have liked. If that’s the case, take the pressure off and give yourself a break!
Please don’t judge yourself as to where you are in this process. I will pass on to you what my own counselor said to me when I was going through cancer: “There is no right or wrong way to ‘do’ cancer.” The same applies, I think, to life after cancer. There is no right or wrong way to “do” post-cancer life or recovery. Whatever way works for you and leads you toward the fulfilling life you want is the “right” way, and there are many different ways to get there!
Like what you see in this blog? Sign up for my newsletter! In addition to getting the article before it posts on the blog, you will also get inspirational quotes, self-care tips, and information about services and upcoming events. Just fill in your name and email in the reddish box at the top right of this page to receive the “Love Your Life After Cancer” eNewsletter every other week, as well as a free video series, “7 Ways to Recover from the Emotional Impact of Cancer.”