#159 After Breast Cancer Awareness

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You know what kind of awareness you need to have before breast cancer. 

Check for lumps, discolorations, dimpled skin, inverted nipples, irregular discharge and do your regularly scheduled mammograms. 

But what should you be aware of after breast cancer? 

It’s a whole new ball game with it’s own set of fears, and challenges. 

Of course, you still follow through with medical advice and supervision, but what about how you feel about yourself? 

Are you aware of what stops you from connecting with others in the way you want, and what to do about it? 

Are you aware that you don’t have to feel alone, beat yourself up, fight your own body or sabotage your own health because food or alcohol are the only things that bring you joy? 

Navigating the space after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment takes some next level awareness to support you in creating the life you want and loving yourself in the way you deserve. 

That’s what we dig into in this week’s show. 

Referred to in this episode: 

The Revived Membership Experience 

The Mind, Body, Breast Cancer Challenge 

Read Full Transcript Below:

 0:01
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have re engaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

0:38
Hello, hello, welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast.

0:45
We are officially in breast cancer awareness month, October.

0:51
And I have a lot to say about breast cancer awareness.

0:56
But first, I am going to give a huge, huge, huge thank you to MichelleJ24, EmHansen27, thebrit45.

1:09
You guys all left a review for me, and I gotta tell you, when I see these reviews, they are truly like little gifts. It's like a Christmas when I opened it up. And I see these reviews and I read them. And trust me, I read every single one of them. They're like love letters, you inspire me.

1:30
You inspire me.

1:31
Because I know, we are all connected. And we get it. And we have to show up for each other. And I'm getting emotional just saying it because your reviews are so beautiful. And you know, I was reading thebrit45. And in it she said, it's such a welcome change to hear positive thoughts and know that someone can totally relate to what I feel living with cancer.

1:31
And, you know, that's so important.

1:56
And I'll tell you what, it means so much to me, because when I was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and I've shared this a little bit, you may or may not have heard this this show, but I shared how I really had a lot of fear come up, you know, after my first diagnosis, I went down that path of figuring out what I was going to do about breast cancer, and it led me to what I do now. And you know, there were all kinds of experiences that led me to understanding that I needed to be here to coach women in this space after breast cancer.

2:34
And then I got diagnosed again and I thought, wow, I felt like is this going to bring my world is crashing down on me. Who is going to want to talk or hear from the breast cancer recovery coach who has cancer, right?

2:52
And I think I've shared this before, but just really quickly, you know, I was talking to my own coach about that. And I just said, Oh, you know, here's my fears. Like, I want to do this so bad. And it's on my heart, and this is what I love. And this is everything to me. And she said to me, you know, why are you creating these stories? Why are you thinking for other people to share your story? Like your message is yours and your story is evolving and you share it as it evolves and the people that need to hear it will hear it.

3:23
And I thought thank God for coaching and it just helps you to check in with your own brain and go wow, yeah, look at my brain is telling me thank you someone else for pointing out where I'm limiting myself.

3:36
And you know, that's when I decided I'm just going to put this message out there and, and put this message out into the world and I'm just gonna see what happens with it. And so when I see these kinds of ratings, and you guys tell me that the podcast supports you, and that you feel heard and understood. Yeah, it touches me it moves me.

3:57
And thank you, thank you for taking the time to write that. And for sharing your love with me. It It means a lot.

4:05
Alright, my friends, as I tell my people all the time, you know what, we are emotional creatures, most of my life, I would have never allowed myself to express emotion so openly and to allow myself to feel it so openly.

4:18
And you know what?

4:19
Now I realize the beauty in that.

4:22
And so even just getting a message from someone when it touches you and you feel love and you feel connection in something moves you like letting yourself feel it, allowing it to happen. It's powerful. And I highly recommend it. I highly recommend it because I know what it's like to not let yourself feel and I know how much better it is to allow yourself to feel.

4:44
So I invite you to feel too.

4:45
Alright.

4:46
And one way you can do that is you can join us in the mind body breast cancer challenge.

4:53
So we are in the first week of the challenge and I've spaced it out so that two meditations open a week on Mondays and on Thursdays, so that you have time, it's not you have to do something every single day for 30 days, it's not overwhelming.

5:08
So if you haven't joined, you can still jump in, there is plenty of time for you to do, the ones that have already passed. And the upcoming ones, there's plenty, plenty plenty of time. And I wanted everybody to have plenty of time. Because I really want you to be able to spend that time in self examination and in really allowing yourself to come back and understand that connection between your mind, your body, your emotions, and the results you have in your life.

5:42
So if you have not joined, please come and join us. You can join at www.thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/mindbody or just go to my website, click on coaching or scroll down on that first page and just join it and you'll see it right there.

5:58
And then the final announcement, I am so excited to let you know that the revived membership is open for enrollment. It opened October 4th. And you can come enroll in Revive, work with me, get coaching, you can jump in into our theme this month in October, which is living from a place of abundance, creating abundance in your life.

6:28
And a big part of why I decided to do this theme of living from a place of abundance and revived in October is because of breast cancer awareness month. Now, before you were diagnosed with breast cancer, breast cancer awareness month is all about making sure that women are on top of checking their breasts looking for the earliest signs, obviously, early detection, getting treatment as soon as possible getting mammograms. And, of course, I highly recommend that for everybody and everybody listening, tell your friends and support people in getting those mammograms and tests and following through.

7:07
But on the other side of the breast cancer diagnosis, breast cancer awareness month has a little bit of a different feeling right?

7:16
Because a lot of times in breast cancer awareness month in addition to the inspirational stories and the good information that's out there, there's also very scary stories, stories that can trigger us for our own experiences in breast cancer stories that can bring up a lot of really challenging emotions to process, stories that can fuel fear.

7:37
I remember after my first diagnosis when that first Breast Cancer Awareness Month came along, and I just remember tearing up so much so much coming back up for me. That's one of the reasons why I did the mind body breast cancer challenge this month. So I created this challenge for my members and Empower and Revived and we did it the last week of September. And as I was creating it, I thought you know what, this is something that everyone needs to know. And whether they work with me or not, or get coaching with me or not being exposed to the meditations in this challenge. And the interactions in this challenge and the journaling exercises and all that comes along with it.

8:24
It's all about creating awareness.

8:26
Because when we go through breast cancer, one of the things that we do so commonly is suppress emotions, and disassociate with our body, right, we move ourselves away from connecting to our body, because a lot of things are happening to it that we don't like. It's feeling in ways that are not comfortable with surgeries, and radiations, and burns and chemotherapy and all the stuff that these treatments do to us. And we do it for all the right reasons to live right and enjoy life and we want to heal from cancer. So of course we do it but because we associate the pain that we're going through and the suffering we're going through with this physical body, we become angry with it, we feel betrayed by it, we don't like the way it looks anymore. And it can all get very confusing, and then it can all get very shut down.

9:24
So on the other side of a breast cancer diagnosis, awareness of where we are at, what we are feeling, we are thinking about the body we're in.

9:40
And then awareness of what power we have in that space is so important in supporting your ability to heal. It's so important.

9:53
And so I want to talk about awareness.

9:56
But I want to talk about awareness from the perspective of are you aware of what you are doing, or not doing to support your body's ability to heal and to support your ability to create and live the life you want?

10:15
What do you have power over?

10:19
What do you think about the things you have power over?

10:23
How aware are you of what you do to stop yourself from taking action in these places where you have some control over what you can do, to learn to support your body, and move forward creating the life you want?

10:39
Some good stuff. So let's get into it.

10:43
I was listening to a book the other day, I'm a huge audible book fan.

10:47
And as a part of the story, one of the characters was saying, complete transformation is possible. But first, you must detach from all your beliefs and assumptions. And the funniest things inspire me. But when I heard that, I thought, Oh, that is so true.

11:08
And as you probably know, my first pillar of breast cancer recovery is release.

11:15
So when it comes to beliefs, and assumptions, awareness comes into the picture, when we look at what is bringing frustration into our life. And we realize that our body has been through a tremendous shock, stress, illness. And yet, we still hold the belief in the assumption that it will return back to normal. And having an awareness of that, really looking at that for yourself, really stopping and looking at those thoughts, writing them down, writing what you think about it, why you think your body will go back to normal what you believe normal to be. And looking at what is behind that assumption. I think it's a game changer.

12:09
So awareness after breast cancer means being able to look at where you are now, where your body is now. And then noticing all the thoughts you have about it, noticing all the beliefs you have about it. And then allowing yourself the grief, or the sadness, and the tremendous relief in letting go of the unrealistic expectations you hold yourself to.

12:43
When I coach women who I see, struggling so hard, and just being just buried in frustration, about not feeling the way they used to feel, and not looking the way they used to look, I offer them the exercise of writing a letter to their pre cancer self, and this letter is a goodbye letter.

13:06
And in my experience, and what I've witnessed this letter is incredibly freeing. And it can be a very emotional experience. And it is emotional experience for a lot of women. But it's so freeing, when we have that awareness and look at ourselves and say, I need to let this go.

13:29
What I am thinking would require me to go backwards in life. And that's not how life works. And so figuring out a way to release the chain to the past, to become aware that it is a chain to the past and figuring out a way to let it go.

13:46
This is a powerful step forward.

13:48
And I think that you know that we hold on to that person from the past because it's one of the few securities we have left in all honesty. It's something that feels comfortable and familiar. And we've been through so much uncomfortable, so much uncertainty, so much unfamiliarity, that holding on to something that we recognize that we knew, it feels good until it doesn't.

14:16
Until we become aware that holding on to this is actually causing suffering pain, self judgment, self condemnation, self loathing all the self's. So letting go of those emotions and noticing the way that they make you feel in your body, which I guarantee you is not going to be good. But letting them go will bring that relief.

14:38
So that's on the subtle emotional level of being aware to be able to support your wellness, your healing and your happy life after breast cancer.

14:49
So let's talk about some tangible things that we can become more aware of that we do have control over.

14:55
Now, one of the most popular questions right and i know you probably know what's coming but it's diet and exercise.

15:01
So a common area of complaint fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, insomnia, these are some very common things that happen to us, depending on the treatment we went through. But especially if we're on AIS (Adenocarcinoma), or something like that after cancer.

15:17
And I will have conversations often with women, because the truth of the matter is that, even though a good healthy, clean diet and exercise may not completely get rid of those symptoms, they will most likely improve or lessen the suffering from them. And in many situations, you may be relieved of all of the symptoms. But in order to know that, you got to try it out first, right?

15:44
So I'll give you an example. I had a conversation with a woman, she was in a really bad place, it was really sad, I felt so much just empathy for her. And we worked through a plan that she was going to implement to try to help herself feel better, feel more focused and support herself better. And she left just saying yes, like, I've got this, I'm so excited, I'm going to do this. And then we had a follow up call. And on that follow up call, the first thing I said is tell me about what you've done. And we had decided she was going to carve out specific time to dedicate to the plan she had created, and felt would work in her life.

16:22
So when I asked her, tell me about the plan, tell me about what you've done. And she said, Yeah, I really didn't do anything. Because I don't know, it's just easier not to. And this is where we need more awareness. Because it's not uncommon to think that. And as we went on to talk, some of the phrases that I heard was, it's really hard to change. It's not something I do, that's just not me. And, again, a hearing yourself, hearing the language you use when you limit yourself from doing the things that you say you want to do, because they support your body's ability to heal and to remain healthy.

17:07
It's so important that to to hear yourself and look at that, be that observer of yourself and your actions, and know that it isn't easy. And this is what I love. So when people say yeah, that's really hard. And I say I know, what's wrong with hard?

17:25
What's wrong with hard? Think about it.

17:29
What's wrong with a challenge?

17:31
And can we look at a challenge or an obstacle and can we say, how much could I grow? If I take this on?

17:40
Can we look at it and make it fun?

17:41
And can we incentivize ourselves with play?

17:45
How can I make this thing fun so that it doesn't seem hard?

17:49
Is that a possibility?

17:51
So a very controllable factor and a very big factor in reducing our risk, diet and exercise.

17:59
So we're struggling with fear of risk of recurrence. If we're struggling and saying to ourselves, I'm feeling stuck. If we're struggling, and we're saying to ourselves, I'm just not moving forward, then it's time to come back and say, What am I telling myself that's keeping myself here?

18:17
And just like, before breast cancer, when Breast Cancer Awareness was about, notice something wrong, and then go take action and get it checked out immediately ASAP.

18:26
After breast cancer is, notice when this thing is wrong, and stop there, and check it out. And ask yourself what's happening here?

18:36
And get help and get support in moving past these things. Get help and get support in taking control of these areas and aspects of your life that serve you that only help you and become aware of what you're thinking behind them.

18:51
So when it comes to diet and exercise, and we say it's hard, I'm not used to it, I don't know what to do. Well, I don't know what to do isn't going to is it going to hold up in court, because we can go on YouTube, go into any grocery store, pick up a magazine anywhere and find out a ton of information on diet and exercise, right? We can get up, walk outside and take a walk every single day. We know some of these things are easy. So when I'm talking about awareness, it's not awareness of information and data on how to it's not the how to, it's the why not? It's the why am I choosing certain actions and why am I not taking other actions? And that all comes down to understanding the way that you're thinking about them.

19:31
So when it comes to I want to have a healthy diet. I want more information on it. I want more information from you. I want to know you tell me why you're not already adopting a healthy diet. You tell me what's behind the thought there. You tell me do you love that body you're in?

19:52
Do you look at it just like another person who you love with all your heart in this world and and say to this body hey love you, buddy, and I'm going to give you some good stuff because I'm going to keep you as healthy as I possibly can. I'm going to support you in feeling better, even though I know it's gonna take a lot of energy. I'm gonna have to move stuff around, I'm gonna have to change the way I do things. But I'm gonna do it because body you are worth it to me.

20:20
Or are you saying, What difference does it make? Who cares? Why don't I just have fun as long as I can. I like donuts. Food prep sounds like a lot of work.

20:33
Going back to the example of the woman that I shared with you, and she said to me, you know, it's just easier not to, is it?

20:42
Is it easier not to take action, on the things that cause you suffering and keep you stuck? It's not easier, you're still in pain, you're still suffering, it's stuck. It's not easier. It's just more familiar. It's more familiar to say, this is life, this is how I do it. This is how I feel. And I got a ton of good justifications that anybody outside of me is damn right. You have every right to feel that way. Yep, I would be stuck if I was you to you, right? Enjoy life, drink it up, eat it up as much as you can. But inside of you, there's a little voice saying, mmhhm man, I really wish I was supporting myself, I really wish I was living a healthier lifestyle. If I get up and I exercise, I'm going to be sword, I'm going to be sweaty, and it's going to be a lot of work. Well, if you don't get up and start exercising, you're going to be in pain, and you're still going to be sweaty, because you have more hot flashes, and it's still gonna be a lot of work.

21:39
So which side you want to pick?

21:43
There's discomfort on both sides, which discomfort serves you and helps you to get to that future version of yourself that you want to be.

21:51
Another area of awareness after breast cancer is our personal power.

21:57
Our voice, our capability and our worth in this world. Too often I hear people women Tell me unbroken. I even did a show it was pre COVID, so I guess was 2019 where another cancer survivor on that show said that she's met a young woman in her 20s and said that a guy said to her, you know, why would anybody date you, you're kind of damaged goods. And you know what? She believed that. And a lot of women believe that.

22:31
So when it comes to awareness, after breast cancer, so that you can live your happiest, healthiest, most fulfilling life, you must become aware of where you're giving up your power, you must start to look at how you value yourself. And whether or not you tell yourself, you are worthy.

22:53
This is about so much more than follow up bloodwork and scans every six months to a year. Those things we let our oncologist take care of right, we give to our GP, let me come from my appointments, you handle the medicine side of it. But on the other side of it, there's so much work we can do for ourselves. Because then we can take those thoughts and we can change those thoughts to ones of I am worthy, I am amazing. I am capable, I have power in this life in this world, to express myself to take care of myself to love myself.

23:29
When you do that, you switch.

23:33
So diet and exercise, they're not so hard anymore, because you love yourself. So you want to do good things for you. Moving forward and embracing your body and learning to love it. It's not so hard anymore. Because you are worthy and you know it and you feel it.

23:52
So on the pre diagnosis side, it's love yourself enough to go and get the medical examinations and the diagnostics necessary to make sure you're taking care of yourself.

24:02
And on the other side after cancer, it's love yourself enough to become aware of the way you're thinking about yourself, so that you will want to treat yourself better. So that you will say, I deserve fresh, delicious food. You will say I deserve that awesome feeling of getting up and moving my body. You will say I deserve to be loved and connected and receive and give freely the gift of love in my life.

24:39
We can go through life so mechanically. So mechanically, we get in routines and rhythms with jobs and kids and families and daycares and events and birth dates and we know what's coming and we have it all planned. And then a rug gets pulled out from under us. The veil gets lifted and we say I don't want to live like a machine anymore. And I don't know how not to. Because nobody ever taught me that. Everybody taught us how to fit in, how to be secure, how to be a good girl, how to be strong enough to suppress your emotions. And now something has happened and that's no longer working.

25:21
So the first step to that transformation, to becoming the person you want to be, and creating the life that feels like a jacket that fits perfectly with shit that gets spilled on it now and then but still, if it's a lot better, it start to become aware of what you think of yourself. What you think about loving yourself, and what you think about what you are worthy of and deserving in this life.

25:50
So this is after breast cancer awareness one on one. And if you heard something that resonated with you, and you want support with that, come join the mind body breast cancer challenge. Come and let me know come and talk to me that's 30 days of a challenge you can get him to for free, and ask questions and get support along the way.

26:10
That is what I'm here for that is my jam. It is what I love to do. There is nothing that hurts my heart more than seeing a breast cancer survivor out there struggling, miserable in their life. And not knowing that it doesn't have to be that way.

26:29
So I hope you come and join me in either the challenge thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/mindbody or join my Revived membership program where every month, you get coaching support community, we do thought work, we have a blast, learn so much.

26:49
And what I've learned and what I've witnessed is it's not about changing you. It's not about I've changed so much. It's about I finally let go of all the labels and expectations that didn't fit and allow yourself to be you. That's really what the coaching and support is all about and to me, that is the wake up call that we get from breast cancer. It's like, you want to keep doing what everyone else thinks you should be doing? You want to live by everybody else's rules? Or you want to figure out what true happiness feels like for you. compassion, happiness, self love, and connection?

27:28
I hope you want the ladder.

27:32
And I'll talk to you again next week. And until then, be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well.

27:39
Take care friends.

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