Life is not always an easy journey and when cancer is a part of it can be tough to find the balance between fighting, and surrendering.
As I navigate living with metastatic disease and focus on doing “all the right things” I’ve found that the fight subtly sneaks in and inevitably leads me to the one place…frustration.
In this week’s show we’ll talk about what happens when we slip into “push through “ mode, and how important it is to allow yourself to surrender when the load you’re pushing gets too heavy to bear.
Sometimes it’s in surrendering the fight that we find the strength and inspiration to keep going.
Check out this week’s show to hear more about:
Referred to in this episode:
Read the full transcript below:
Laura Lummer 00:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, hello, you are listening to Episode 233 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm thrilled to be here with you today. And to jump into this topic that I've been actually giving a lot of thought to. But before I do that, I have to ask you a question. Have you heard that for the month of March, march 2023, until March 31 2023, you can go to my website, you can enroll in my becoming you 2.0 program. And you can pay what you want starting at only $37. Yeah, this is an eight week long reinvention course that comes with video coaching every week for eight weeks, action guides and I call them action guides. Because you know, if you're a listener of this podcast, you got to do the work. And I will guide you through that work. But their writing exercises, beautiful PDFs, you can download, put them in a notebook, go over them again. And again, you have lifetime access to the program. And the cherry on top. During the eight weeks of coaching, I'll not only be guiding you through that program with videos and action guides, but you'll have live access to me, you'll have access to come and be with me during office hours, four times during that eight weeks. So that's four hours of asking questions, getting coached come in and say you Hi, whatever it is you need to do to get the support you need to live the life you want to live to create that life that's better than before breast cancer. So go to my website, you're gonna see a big red banner at the top, just click on that, or go straight to the URL to breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash you or just click on the link, wherever you're listening to this podcast, I included the link in the show notes. All right, and you'll find the full show notes for this episode of the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 233. All right, go and do that you're going to be amazed is becoming you 2.0. Because I want to help you move past the idea of going back to who you used to be, and embrace and fall in love with the idea that you're going to move forward into who you want to become. It's awesome. All right, my friends, let's move on. I want to share a story with you to start off and kind of set the scene. So I'm watching this show with my husband. And there's a character in the show. And he is just getting beaten up by life. I mean, it's hard for me to watch, right? I do such a good job in the show. It's hard for me to watch this guy. Anything and everything that can go wrong is going wrong. And they're big things. They're huge parts of his life, right? And it's devastating. And you're watching him and you're just thinking, My God, someone give this man a break. And there's this scene where it comes to and he's laying down in bed. And it's just been a horrendous day for him. And he's in the dark. And he pulls up his covers, I feel like I'm gonna cry right now. And he just starts sobbing. Right? He just starts sobbing. And you feel for him. I was crying at the time. And I feel it coming back right now just relaying the story to you. But it's like, God, how much can you take, right? And in that moment, he just stops for a second. And he says please help me, right? He looks up at the sky says please help me. And then there's this inspiring music. And he gets an idea, an idea that might help him solve one of the big crises that he's going through. And he actually gets up out of bed in that moment in the middle of the night in the dark. And he goes to take care of this idea he was inspired to do and it works. He gets what he needs. And you're thinking, Oh, okay, great, because Don't we all want a happy ending? And then as he's heading back home to take care of this problem with the solution that he's discovered, somebody else horrendous goes wrong, and it doesn't work out. Right? And at the end of the day, he doesn't get the result that he wants. And you're just left sitting there going, Oh, Jesus, because you know what? You can identify with that right? We can all identify with those moments in life, where we're just laying They're thinking, how much more? How much more of life? Can I take? Like, when is this going to stop, I want it to be done. Right? I want this to stop. And I can really identify with that I'll share you with you a personal story. Because obviously, if you're listening to this podcast, you know that I have metastatic breast cancer. And that a main focus of my life every single day is doing the things that I can do to help my body heal from cancer. And I truly believe that that is going to be my outcome. Like, that's what I want. It's what I think about. At some time, sometimes I don't get the results that I want fast enough. And, in my mind, I think I know I'm working so hard, I'm doing so good. I'm sticking to the plan, I'm learning all the things, I'm consulting all the experts, I'm accessing all the resources. I just want it to be done. Now. I know. Sometimes I just want it to be done now. And I'll get a result. And I in my mind, I'm thinking I'm gonna get this blood work, and it's just going to show but I am all better. And I'll get the blood work. And it shows now one or two things that are positive, right, or something that didn't change, so it's stable, and it's like, okay, that's good, right? That's good. I work through it in my own brain. But then there's this niggling thing in the back of my brain that's like, I just want it to be done. I don't want to, I don't want to have to think about it all the time. I don't want to have to do this all the time. And I know, if you're listening to me, and you're going through breast cancer treatment, you're thinking that has happened to you. Like, we get positive, we get in a good mindset, we move forward, we get to enjoy our days. And then some days, it's like, ah, ah, I don't have the energy to do this. I just want it to stop. And then if you're listening to me, and you've already been through breast cancer treatment, I know your body has changed. I know it's changed in many ways, depending on what you've been through, I've been through that too. And you're just plugging along and you're trying to get what you want. And pain is happening little tiny bit at a time. Maybe it's not shifting at all. And then you just feel exhausted, when you just feel like you want to sit there and pull the covers up over your head and cry and say, help me. Ha, just help me. I one thing that I thought about when I was watching that episode when I was watching that scene, is that when he got to the point of just sobbing, when he got to that point of laying there in the middle of the night and just saying, Help me. And when I've gotten to that point in my life, something releases. And I started thinking a lot about that. And I thought I know when I've been to that point. And I can remember a specific day, it's like burned into my memory that I was going to radiation, I was going through 30 rounds of radiation on my spine, and then another 30 On my left hip. And, you know, radiation is exhausting, right. And I was on crutches, I wasn't allowed to put any weight on my hip at that time. And I just remember, you know, I was so close to being done. I maybe had a little over a week left of going and doing this treatment, you know, you have to go every single day. And I got out of the car and I just looked at the entrance to that office where the radiation was. And I thought I can't make it. You know, I'm not gonna make it. I can't walk that far. I can't do this one more day. And where I was parked right next to me was this little beautiful serene sitting area that the hospital had built. And it had like a koi pond, Koi fish swimming around, and a couple of seats you could sit on, and I thought I just have to sit down and that can't make it that far. So I went and I sat down by that pond. And there was this giant stone, just this beautiful rock feature next to the pond and into it was engraved a Bible verse. And the Bible verse said to everything, there is a season. Wow, I did not think it would be this hard for me to talk about this.
Laura Lummer 09:36
But in that moment, I remember just thinking, yeah, it's just a season. This too shall pass. Right. The difficulty will pass. And when I fought that, I felt something let go. You know, I felt this release. And I'm tying it all together. I to what I've been thinking about why as I go through all the things that I go through, right, supporting myself to heal, watching this show, reflecting back on that day that I was going to radiation, I realized that it's when we get to that moment, where we just say, Help me, where we just say, I can't I give up, I throw in the towel. In that moment, for just, however brief it may be, we surrender. Right? We stop fighting. And when we stop fighting, we just opened a little bit of a space. And we can let things go. And when I say I surrender, I give up. I don't mean, I give up, I'm done. You know, I'm done here. I mean, I'm done fighting. Right? I think it's so natural for us to go into action mode in the sense of fight this, resist this, push through this. And when we stop for a second, and we just say, help me. There, I think we actually get to be in the moment, you know, in that experience. In that moment, we're just fully present coin, I'm tired. I don't want to fight anymore. I'm out of ideas. I'm just going to just let this go. And I wanted to share that with you not to be depressing and emotional, which is not how I thought I was going to feel. But that's just what came up when I started talking. But because I hear all the time, when I'm on coaching calls, in so many aspects in every aspect of life, in the aspect of people going back to work after treatment, if they've taken time off, in feeling the way they want to feel or think they should feel or going back to normal or starting something new or trying to move forward with a diet or trying to move forward adopting a new mindset. I hear this all the time. We're we're fighting. We're resisting what we don't want, right? So if we don't want to eat sugar anymore, but we have a craving for sugar, we're pissed ourselves. We're fighting that we're feeling this urge. If we want to feel like we should want to go back to work, but in our heart of hearts, something saying that's not where I want to be, I want something different. And our fighting is a no no, no What what's familiar want what we had, let's go back to normal, let's keep it comfortable. And we resist and we resist and then that resistance that will it gets bigger and taller and thicker, and harder. And we feel that hardness in us. And it's only when we stop. And we just let shit go and say, Ah, okay, moping and open. Help me. What does that help me mean? I don't know, it's the little voice in your head, the God that you pray to the universe that you rely on. But I do know what it isn't. And it isn't in you coming up with another idea to force something to happen. When you have no control over the outcome. Right? We have no control over the outcome. So something that's a really, really challenging lesson is doing what we believe is good for us today. Right? Being in the journey, whatever your journey is, whatever your focus is, but being there because that's where you know, you need to be being mindful, being intentional, paying attention to today in life, and not being attached to the outcome. I remember first hearing this concept. When I was studying yoga, I had finished yoga teacher training. And I was studying with this man who was a yogi who was raised in the Himalayas and who was incredibly amazing. He was amazing. And I remember studying with him as he was teaching this group of us these new yoga teachers to do things and not be attached the outcome. And honestly, I didn't get it. Because I was a very driven person and very competitive person. And when you're competitive, I don't care how often you say it's not about who wins. It's about the race. No, it isn't. It's about who wins. It's about getting what you want. It's about I came in first, second or third maybe I could deal with but I didn't lose, right. It's about getting to that next step of physical fitness or being the best person at the job. I mean to me That's what being competitive meant. Yeah, I'm in the competition, but I'm here to win. So when we go through our life like that, like, Here I am, I'm in the competition, right? I'm in this to heal from cancer, and my eyes on the brass ring complete remission. And in all honesty, I don't have control over that outcome. I only have control over what happens today, I don't have complete control. If I did, I wouldn't have cancer right now. Right? When we're going through these challenging periods, when we want to create something in our life, and we're just holding on to the outcome, we judge ourselves by the outcome, we fear not being successful in creating the outcome. And we step away from being mindful and being present in today. And when we do that, it's so easy to do, right, it's really easy to get caught up in that I know, it's easy for me, there's so many days where I practice my meditation in the morning, my journaling, and I'm very focused on just being in the joy of today. And then there's times where I get busier, and my calendar is full, and I don't take that time. And I'm just, you know, going full speed ahead trying to accomplish something, get to the brass ring. And then something will happen. And I realize I'm not as close as I thought. And then I'm disappointed. But it's when I stop in that moment and I start to look at myself, I'll give you a specific example. As I'm working, as I've shared before on the podcast, and I'm doing this ketogenic diet to stay in therapeutic ketosis. And I'd maintained therapeutic ketosis pretty consistently, I'd say, 95% of the time for a solid month, and then I had some blood work done. And I really wanted my tumor markers to drop, right, I really wanted to show they dropped, you know, and then as I was going to get the bloodwork done, I thought, well, you know it, I'll be okay. As long as they didn't change as long as they didn't go up at all, because they'd been going up pretty consistently, even though I have no evidence of, of disease progression or anything like that in my body, my tumor markers were going up. And so I went, I had my bloodwork done, and I was so excited to see these tumor markers. Because I was sure that they hadn't gone up sure that they hadn't gone up. And I got the bloodwork and they went up. But they only went up, like five points at a teeny tiny bit, where they consistently been going up 20 to 30 points for several previous months. So when I first saw the results, I was like,
Laura Lummer 17:55
seriously, all the work that I do, and they went up, and I was frustrated, you know, and it took me a few hours actually took me a few hours to wrap my head around and go, Laura, seriously, like the increase is 97% less than has been over the past several months. That's pretty amazing. That's a good outcome. But I'm impatient, right? And I'm competitive. And I got out of the journey I got out of the experience I got out of the moment, and I got into the outcome. And when the outcome wasn't what I wanted, I didn't feel good about it. And, you know, I, I think of fortunate person, I don't know what it is in my brain chemistry, but I very rarely have a mood or a funk. You know, I very rarely feel like they're just a blood day. And I could feel myself slipping into that. And it was actually several hours have gone by and I thought you know, it was a day where normally it's my date night with my husband. And we like to go out to sushi. And I didn't want to go. I didn't I hadn't talked to him about it. I didn't want to talk to anybody about it. I didn't want to go out. And then I started just pulled out a pencil and paper and I started working through my thoughts. And I was like, come on, come on. Now. You got to give yourself some time here. And I think that that's the second thing I want to touch on. It's so much easier to get in the hole and get out of the hole, isn't it? It's so much easier to eat calories than to burn calories, easier to spend money than to save money, right easier to get into debt than to get out of debt, easier to get cancer than to heal cancer. And I say easy because you know one day you have cancer right? And then it's yours. And on the average when people start a program like this and from everything I've read from people whose bodies have healed from cancer, it's a good solid two years of intense coming It went to their program. And I knew that and I know that going in. But I don't know I'm competitive. So I want, I want my two years to look like one year. Right. And when you're trying to lose weight, you know, you want it to be faster, when you're trying to feel better when you're trying to get out of pain when you're trying for your body to feel different after treatment, and you want it to happen so fast, and then it doesn't. And we forget that we've got to give ourselves time and space. And we've got to surrender to the process. Right? Sometimes we've just got to stop pushing. And I don't mean, stop doing things for yourself. I mean, stop and notice what is just be here with what is instead of thinking about what you want to force it to become, right? If we can be in the moment and look at what is and ask ourselves, truthfully, and be really honest with ourselves. Am I really in this moment, doing everything that I can, for whatever outcome it is that I hope to achieve? And if the answer is yes, good job. Yeah. Good job, then I know I'm going to get there, right, I'm going to get there, meaning I'm going to keep moving forward. If I'm doing all the things to create the change I want to see in my life, then I'm going to start to see that change, right, I started to see the change. But I wanted to look past the change, because it wasn't a big enough change for me. Right. So we've got to give ourselves that pat on the back. And that kudos to you're moving forward, I often will say to my clients, when they'll realize have an awareness of something that's maybe been troubling them or that they want to work through or create in their life. And they'll have this awareness of Oh, I think that what's been holding me back is that I've been doing this or that I've been thinking that. And that's what I have to change. And I appreciate that so much. And I cheer them on at that point so much. Because that in itself is moving forward, when you finally have an understanding and an awareness of what it is that's holding you back or keeping you from moving forward. That in itself is a step forward. So we've got to just honor these little tiny 1% changes. And we tell ourselves another thing, I'm gonna move forward, I know I'm doing what I want to do to create the life I want to live to support my health and the way I want to support it. But I never know how that's going to manifest until I get there. Right? We hope we think forward, we think if I do this, I'll get that. But that's not necessarily true. Because things might change along the way. And when we finally get to our end goal, and we look back, then we go okay, now I knew how I was going to get here. And now that I'm here, it doesn't look the same as I thought it would when I first started. Right? I don't know what my end goal is going to be in two years. But I know right now I'm doing everything I can to move forward to it, to move forward towards it. And my eye on the prize, the perfect prize is no evidence of disease. But maybe I'll be like so many other people who have tiny bits of disease live, but they're completely controlled and stable for years and years. Maybe it'll look like that. I don't know. But if I get too attached to what it's going to look like before I even get there, then the danger is I fall off the wagon, right? I give up, I give into the frustration. I ignore the tiny changes that are happening and moving me forward along the way. Because I'm fighting so hard, that I'm not allowing space to just be in the process, to be in the journey, and to acknowledge my successes, even if they're micro successes. So what do I want you to take away from this. One is if you are feeling internally, like you're fighting so hard, if you're feeling internally, like I'm constantly looking for the next thing I'm pushing on pushing and pushing that maybe it's time to just stop that maybe it's time to just surrender for a moment. And just take a deep breath and let it all out and go help me and see what comes up and see if you can't release some of the stress that you're putting on yourself. And then the second thing is, am I so attack Watch the outcome, the needle on the scale, the way the job works, the amount of money and my soul attached to the outcome, that I'm missing something here in the journey. I'm missing something along the way, because I'm not being present with it. And maybe I'm not being intentional, because how can we be intentional if we're not present? And what I mean by that is like when I refer to doing a journaling process, in the in the mornings, one of the things that I look at is, what am I doing today? Because if we're not looking at what we're doing today, then we kind of lose that awareness. And I think that's where we slip into fighting and pushing, rather to where am I now? And then where I'm at now, what can I do today? What can I do today to move me closer to what I want in my life, in my health, in my relationships, in my job in anything. And then finally, the third thing is, it's going to take however long it takes. And when we feel that pressure, and when we feel that stress and the anxiety or the anger or the frustration of it's not happening fast enough, it's not done yet, you gotten way ahead of yourself. And I want to encourage you to come back. You don't know what it's going to end up looking like you want it to look one way, but maybe you don't have complete control over that. So come back to the journaling exercise today. What are you doing today? What do you have control over today? What could you be missing, if you're so focused on what the outcome needs to be? All right. And I think that we can apply this in literally every area of our life. But what I do know is when we finally get to the point where we say, This is too much to keep pushing, and we stop pushing, something magical happens in that moment. And we just allow ourselves to be there with who we are. And notice what you can do today. Right? So my friends, be patient with yourself. Know that life is a process. And in that process, in that journey, we're going to feel a lot of things, a lot of market a feel great. But we don't want to take ourselves out of the journey when they don't feel great, right? We want to come back to the moment because I really do believe that the gift of every life is being very present and very intentional in the moment. And in addition to that, when you let go and surrender, there's help available. Right? And it's difficult to see that help. It's difficult to grab onto that outstretched hand if you're too busy pushing.
Laura Lummer 27:55
So let's stop the pushing. Let's take a breath and let's see what's out there to support you. All right. I will talk to you again next week. And until then please be good to yourself. Take care
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