The thought of healing used to bring me visions of warm, cozy places, comforting food, and gentle behaviors.
Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and when I stepped into the space of healing, the mask came off and I had to get to know it for what it really was.
Not cozy, not soft, not easy…talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
But as I became more familiar with that wolf, I saw it was a space requiring full attention.
It was a space demanding that I show up with no armor, no defenses, and a complete willingness to look at myself with honesty.
Did I say not easy?
In the second of my four big life lesson episodes, I’ll share some insights into the importance of seeing healing for what it is so you can show up prepared for it and benefit from all it has to offer.
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Read the full transcript:
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, friends, welcome to episode 260 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I'm excited to be back this week with life lesson number two, as I shared on the podcast last week, this month, July is the month where I celebrate 12 years since my first diagnosis of breast cancer. And to honor those 12 years, I wanted to share each week on the podcast, something that I found to be a really powerful life lesson. And what I'm going to talk about today, I think is not only been a powerful life lesson, but just a huge paradigm shift. And I want to talk about why this paradigm shift has been really important in my life. And why I think it's very important for all of us to consider how this dynamic plays out in our life, because we're going to talk about is healing. And I mean healing not just on a physical level, but on any level, healing, any injuries spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, financial, anything, anything that has created a lot of pain, or really intense emotion has created suffering on a physical or other level or energetic level for you that there's been scarring, you know, emotional scarring, physical scarring both and I find that both go hand in hand, typically we rarely have intense physical pain or physical experiences without having that tied to an emotional experience as well. These are very intertwined. So and vice versa, we don't either think go through a lot of emotional pain without also feeling that or having that reflected in our bodies. But when we think about healing, let's just consider that for a moment. When you think about healing, what comes to my mind is this lovely visual healing. We take care of people healing, rest in bed, have some tea, have some soup, take a warm bath, go to bed early, right gentleness taking care of yourself. But is that what healing actually feels like? Is that the real experience of healing? So I'm going to offer that no, those things may happen while we're working on healing. If we have had an illness, or an injury or trauma of some kind, we may spend time in bed, we may try to check out a little bit people may make soup for us or encouraged us to take a hot bath. But rarely when we're doing those things, because we're focused on healing from some kind of grief, some kind of injury, some kind of illness. Is it really comfortable? Is it really cozy? It sure hasn't been in my experience, when I have taken that time out, to be in bed, right to drink that tea to take time out, especially in the beginning of this journey is because I was in some kind of pain. It was because I was unable to participate in life at the level that I wanted to be participating. It's the quote unquote, normalcy of life. Right? Something had happened that took me out of the normal routine, and put me on my back in a bed, whether it was a surgery or fatigue, or you know, side effects from radiation treatments or chemotherapy treatments. But it sure was uncomfortable. I wasn't up and doing what I normally do in life because I couldn't write I was physically unable to participate in my life the way I wanted to. And that is not comfortable. But while I was going through that difficult physical experience, I'm also going through a lot of challenging emotional experience. Because again, they're intertwined. So when we can't use our bodies to do what we're used to our bodies doing or what we desire for our bodies to do. We are not easy on ourself. Right, we go to judgment and bitterness and unfairness. And this shouldn't happen to me and how long is this going to take? When can I go back to normal? And then the people around us as well. So when you're gonna get back and how long is this going to take and when you think you'll be back at work and when you're gonna be able to pick up the kids again. We're always look into what is this over. And in doing so even when we go and we talk to a physician, or even if you're going through really trying to process emotion from the trauma of breast cancer that you've been through, and you need emotional space, mental space? Do you take time out to allow yourself to process that? Or do you think why am I still feeling like this? When am I going to get over it? Why am I still going through this and to the people around you approach you with similar questions? So, but you're better now. So what's the problem? Right? Why are you so depressed? You lived? I don't get it. And no one stops to say, how much time do you need for yourself? Now, let me qualify that because sometimes there will be, oh, hey, are you going to be able to get up and get yourself to the bathroom after a bilateral mastectomy? Do you need someone there to help you? Where you need someone there to bring you food? We look at tangible things. What does this person need in order to be able to eat and go to the bathroom and drink and wash themselves? But do we approach our doctors? Do we approach our therapists or coaches or counselors and say, How much time do you think I need to really give to myself here? How much time do you normally see that it takes people to be able to process all of this? Or do we just say so what's the downtime? Right? What's the downtime that I can get back to doing what I was supposed to do without injuring myself further. And then oftentimes, people push that boundary as well. Oh, doctor says I should be out, I shouldn't lift anything for six weeks. But in four weeks, I feel great. I can lift anything. So we don't hold that space, after the trauma and set it aside with this sacred idea of healing. We don't look at that space with gentleness and care and say, what's going to need to happen here? What are you going to need to process? What are you going to need to support yourself? It's just how fast can I get back? How fast can I get through this? Why do we do that? If healing in fact, was this cozy thing where you put on your favorite socks and your favorite jammies and your favorite blanket and a hot cup of tea? Why don't we want to stay there, we're not going to be like, Oh, this healing thing is pretty cool, man. It's cozy and it's comfy. I'm loving this. But we don't love it. We don't want to even be in it. We don't even give ourselves the chance to be in it to heal because it's uncomfortable. Why is it uncomfortable? Normally, it involves some kind of physical distress, pain or discomfort and emotional discomfort, because we have to notice we've stopped and now the feelings come up, the uncomfortable emotions start to surface and we don't like them. Part of healing is to be in them, to notice them, to allow them and to learn how to process them. But nobody teaches us that. So we're just uncomfortable. And we just want to get the hell out of there as fast as we can. Right? So is healing, comfortable? No, it is not comfortable. is healing easy. It isn't easy, because it requires dedicated time and attention. Let's say that you're unable physically to take care of yourself, what is healing, going to involve? Support, asking for help. Ooh, what are we doing more than anything, ladies asking for help, right? We want to be independent, we want to be strong. And there's nothing wrong with wanting that. Except that there's times where we have to stop and say, this is all about my ego. This is about how I tell myself, I have to look to other people. And we don't allow ourselves to have the full spectrum of human experience, which includes time for introspection, time for support, time to be part of a community openness and vulnerability to be open to receiving love and support from that community. That's a great part of healing, receiving love. And love is given in the form of people bringing you food or sitting next to you and watching a movie when you can't get up and do anything. But we don't let ourselves stay in there because we're so uncomfortable. Because we're conditioned and programmed to go through life, rejecting that, rejecting that kind of connection, and turning into our ego and saying I've just got to be strong and independent and do everything on my own. And I don't need any help. Because you got a story about it. What's your story about needing help or asking for help? What do you tell yourself that means about you? How do you perceive other people when they need help? Or they ask for help? What do you think of the word vulnerable and you apply that to you? You want to run away from those things as fast as possible. And that's why healing is uncomfortable. But if we can stop and say, you know, this healing thing. It looks really good on movies and stuff where you just like cozy and people are taking care of you. But in real life, it's challenging. There's a lot that has to go on in healing. And then when we can embrace that, we can create space for it, we can prepare for it. And we can acknowledge to ourselves, I'm going to be feeling some uncomfortable things here, I'm going to be having thoughts about myself, that maybe aren't going to be really supportive of doing what's best for myself. And I want to know, and plan for that and be able to process that and choose other thoughts that do support me, it takes work, healing is not easy. So what do we tend to do, instead of wanting to heal, we want to fight. And there's a big difference between fighting and healing, a really big difference, because fighting is pushing away, fighting is defending, fighting is protecting, but fighting is not opening yourself to the experience, allowing yourself to be in the experience and noticing and asking for and receiving what you need. That's the challenging part. And then we have another part of healing, that makes it really uncomfortable. We think healing should happen fast. Right? How long is this going to take? Why is this taking so long? Why isn't this better yet? Why hasn't this changed? And here's some of the reasons I think we do that. One, we've got Western medicine, which you get sick, you get an antibiotic, you get better, right? How long is this going to take? How fast can I get over this. And we've got lots of medicine that supports that. But we also have this misconception, this perception about illness as if it just happened that fast. You know, think about have you ever twisted a knee or hurt your back and you are turning around to pick up a cup of tea off the table, and your back went out and like oh my gosh, it was just in that instant. And our brain says like in that instance, something went wrong. But really, that's rarely what's happened, really, there's been tension on that part of your back where there's been something going on there for a long time. And that final movement in whatever state you were in, when you made it was just the final straw that brought up pain. When you get a cancer diagnosis. It's like, oh, one day I was fine. And one day I had cancer. That's not true, either. We've had cancer in us for a long time before it's a palpable tumor before we have side effects or symptoms that we notice. And we start investigating into this. So our brain is like, but this is when I got my diagnosis. So this is when it happened. And yet you'll talk to physicians will say, Oh, gosh, you know, if you had that, then it's probably been in your body for three years for five years for 10 years growing, growing, growing, looking for opportunities to grow. And it's funny, I think about this also with relationships, right? People say, one day she just up and left. But I've been in relationships. And I've heard that term. And it isn't true. And it's like, um, this has been coming for 10 years, this has been coming for five years, right? There's all kinds of stuff that leads up to the point where a relationship finally ends. And it usually takes a very long time as humans very rarely are in a relationship. And one day something goes wrong. You're like, Oh, that's it yesterday, I loved you today I don't, I'm done. Right. There are all kinds of little things that build up and resentments and bitterness and change and all of this stuff. And people change in a relationship ends. We think about it even in nature. Let's say that we have an earthquake, and people say, oh, you know, the ground just shifted. And all this happened. And all this damage came as a result of it. But the Earth is constantly shifting, I live in Southern California. So I'm part of the Pacific Rim. Trust me, we have a lot of earthquakes. And so there's these little shifts, little shifts, little shifts all the time, just like life, little things are changing, little things are moving, little things are shifting, but then all of a sudden, there's a big release. And the big release causes a much more visible impact. Same thing in our life. And so when we stop and we think about how we get sick, or how we get injured, or what the real process is before we notice that something is wrong. Like when we get to that point where we say, oh gosh, I need to gain weight, I've gained 50 pounds. We didn't gain 50 pounds in two days. Right? It took time to do that. But we want to lose 50 pounds in two weeks. So here it took all of these years for it to slowly creep up on us and then we think it should just go away without putting a lot of time and a lot of effort into it. Same kind of thing with financial issues, right people find themselves in debt. rarely did you get in debt in the last 48 hours. It's been a process that's been coming on for a long time, which is why it takes so much time to get out of debt. It takes work. So when it comes to Healing, why do we think it should happen so fast? Why do we put that pressure on ourselves? You know, I heard something the other day, I was in a call with Nisha winters, we were talking about the metabolic approach and different therapies that people use. And we were talking about the microbiome. And one of the things she said is, when you're working on the health of the microbiome, you have to realize that people have been have gone through cancer treatment, have gone through radiation, have gone through chemotherapy have some kind of treatment, it can take up to two years before the microbiome re stabilizes. You know, there are different chemotherapy agents that 10 years after chemotherapy can still affect your hearing, there can be all this long term damage. So think of all these processes are constantly happening in our body. Why do we think it should be done in a couple of weeks? I remember when I finished chemotherapy, IV chemotherapy in 2012, in my mind, I said, okay, the chemotherapy protocol is three weeks, right? You get it, and then you get really sick, and then you start to come back, and then you come back more, and then they would put you under chemotherapy again, and knock out the cancer. But if this is my last treatment, then it's going to be in my system for three weeks. So week four by him back to life, right? I'm back, I gotta go to the gym, I got to be normal again, what the heck was I thinking, and that's not how it went at all. But in that was me not sitting back and realizing what healing really meant. How much work healing takes, how much time healing takes, and really embracing, investigating and allowing myself to understand healing. Because I didn't do that. I put a lot of pressure on myself and turn to fighting. This isn't right, this shouldn't be like this. And then that brings up all kinds of other negative heated emotions that don't support healing. So when I have people come to me for coaching, people come in, they say I just you know, I've been through this, and they're going through all this emotional struggle, and they start working on their thoughts, and they start working on beliefs, and they start working on expectations in their lives. They start working on how they actually feel about themselves and trying to practice caring for themselves and loving themselves. And in a few weeks time, there's frustration because it's like, why hasn't this changed? Why am I not better? But think about how long you have had ideas about yourself. Think about how when someone teased you as an eight year old, you held on to that and believed your whole life like I did for a long time, right? I was the kid with the big nose and our family. Everybody else had these little tiny pug noses? How many years? Was I self conscious about having a big nose? How many years did it take, for me as an adult to finally get comfortable with my own appearance, especially when I started having an online business and showing my face on video all the time? How many years did it take to unravel all of the thoughts that I had stepped up and woven into who I was and what I looked like? It takes a long time. So if we go through trauma as children, and we take on other people's beliefs as children, and we take on other people's opinions, values, children, but as teenagers as 20 year olds as 30 year olds as 40 year olds, and then we go through a life changing experience, and we finally reach out to get support to heal from that trauma. And we realize that it stacked on top of years and years and decades and decades of believes. Why do we think it would heal any faster than it took to wound?
Down doesn't healing takes time. It's not easy. It's not comfortable. And it's not fast. And I don't say that to scare people away, or to make people think, Well, geez, I don't really want to work on healing. But I think that the more we become aware of what is true, and the more we allow ourselves to look at the misunderstanding of some concepts, then the more we can let go of expectations that leave us feeling frustrated and angry. The more we can remind ourselves, while this is going to this is going to take some space. This is going to take some time. You know, I met a woman several weeks ago, and I was speaking at an event and she was one of the speakers and she was sitting at the speaker table with me. And she asked me how I was feeling. She says are you nervous? And I said, you know, I'm not nervous because I know what I'm going to talk about. And I'm really comfortable that I'm very familiar with this area. And for me, I'm a talker public speaking isn't something that really bothers me. I said, How are you feeling? Are you feeling nervous? And she said, Yeah, I am feeling a little bit nervous. I don't really speak in public often. And she was and I'm recovering from a major surgery. And I said, Oh my gosh, oh, I hope everything is okay. I hope you're doing well. And she said yeah, it's been a year but I I'm doing better. Now, in relation to what we're talking about right now, I thought, That is so awesome. She is recognizing that a year ago, she had a surgery, and the surgery was on her brain. And a year later, she's still healing from it, which is very true. Right, her brain didn't go back to the way it used to be, she's learning to work with it in a different way. She's learning to live with the differences she experiences in life, because her brain works differently. And she allowed herself that space to say, I'm still healing. And it still affects the way that I speak or the way that I think, or the way that I present. And so she didn't go by the timeline of what is healing mean, oh, we have this surgery, and then you're in recovery for this long, and then you have to be off work or in bed or whatever for this long, and then bam, you're done. Right? That's not healing. That's like the minimal absolute recovery someone has to do from a physical thing. And then it isn't till after that, that healing actually even begins. Because it's really difficult to work on processing things when you're in physical pain, or when you're ill, or you're recovering. So that's just kind of a time to say, who let me just be here and care for myself. Right, as we know, and as you know, this podcast is all about better than before breast cancer, breast cancer recovery coach, because when we're in something, we're doing all we can in survival mode to just keep going. And then when we stop, and we're after breast cancer, so many of us finally have realized, Oh, this is really hard to because this is the space where you have to heal. And so if you acknowledge and you embrace and you allow yourself to understand, healing is not a warm, fuzzy thing. Healing is work. Healing is realizing what you're holding on to being willing to process that being willing to experience those emotions, those physical sensations, and being willing to choose other thoughts to either let them go, or their true thoughts or ways of thinking about yourself to to create more love for yourself more compassion for yourself, and to decide how you want to live going forward. So I hope that you can take that in and as a result of it be a little bit easier on yourself. Because I see so many women who are just a couple of months out of breast cancer or a year out or even three years out, beating themselves up because they're not feeling the way they think they should feel. And I just want us to have that space to shift and say in a very important life lesson is healing takes as long as it takes. And it takes intention and work and a willingness to feel the discomfort as you go through the process of healing. Alright, my friends, I will be back next week with life lesson number three. And I hope you'll join me for that until then be good to yourself, take care
courage to the test laid all your doubts. Your mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures given you know you've been waiting on