#296 How to Lean Into Life After Breast Cancer

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When it comes to life and breast cancer, it’s not uncommon for me to hear women say that they lost a chunk of their life to it or that breast cancer robbed them and they’re right. 

Anytime we tell ourselves a story like that, we’ll find a way to prove we’re right. 

In this episode I’ll offer you another view, one that allows you to feel all the things that come up and still choose to lean into life regardless of the circumstances. 

One of the biggest mistakes I see is women having the belief that everything should feel good and comfortable for it to be right. 

I’ve found exactly the opposite. 

The things that we’re the most uncomfortable are the things that have brought the biggest rewards to my life. 

But you need to have the right tools to support you in creating the life you want while you feel uncomfortable emotions. 

Listen now and hear the exact steps to do that. 

Referred to in this episode: 

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 


Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer 0:00
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.

Laura Lummer 0:33
Hey, friends, welcome to another episode of Better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I'm so excited about today's topic, because I'm just all in on this. This month. In fact, this whole until the end of this year, in the better than before breast cancer membership, we're focusing on leaning into life. And I get so excited about that, because life is big and beautiful, and adventurous. And there's so many wonderful things that we can experience. So many wonderful things we can accomplish. And so many things we hold ourselves back from, because we're afraid to lean in. And here's the thing, I have people tell me things that they want to do share with me steps that they'd like to take to make small changes in their life to do things that they're they enjoy. And we're not ask why not? Why don't you do it? What holds you back? Oftentimes, I hear I'm scared. I'm afraid. It's unknown. It's a risk. And here's what I want to offer you. The thing itself is not scary. Right? What do you think about it? That's what is scary. So you know, when you're with your significant other, and they're like, you're right, you're right, you're always right, right, you're having an argument? And like all you're always right, well, let me tell you that that's true, that you are always right, meaning that whatever you think, and what you put energy into thinking, your your brain will find more evidence to prove that that thing is right. So whatever it is in life, that you want to experience that you want to accomplish, that you want to feel that you want to see, that you want to do. If you tell yourself it is scary, you're right. Because you're gonna look for all the reasons why it's scary. And you're going to prove to yourself that it's scary. But the thing itself, is not scary. It's only your story about it, that's holding you back. When we get diagnosed with breast cancer, you know, I used to post on all my podcasts would go on a bunch of social media channels, and Twitter was one of them, which I guess is called X noun. And from time to time, it wasn't just a really big part of the platforms that I use for my business. But from time to time, I would pop in on that. And I would see people who followed my Twitter account, or I would look for and read stories about other people who were were posting about breast cancer. And I would see so many stories of women who had metastatic disease, and just post after post after post after post of just horrifically sad, tragic. This is death, I am dying kinds of posts. Now, please don't, please do not think that I'm saying people should not share any of their thoughts or share when we are at end of life. And there is fear and whatever it needs to be said that's okay. That's not what I'm saying. But I would in these threads. You know, sometimes we have scary stuff happening in life, but even when that stuff is happening, and it's difficult to process, they're still so good, right? There's still some hope. And I would not see hope. Right? I would not hear hope. And I would read sometimes there would be hundreds of comments from other people who would feed into that, yes, you're gonna die. You know, their comments weren't mean by it by any in any way, shape or form. But there was just no hope. Right? And it reminded me at one point, I just stopped actually accessing that platform at all because I really, from time to time when I would check on it. I never saw anything positive, anything uplifting, anything encouraging. And again, I'm not saying everything should be happy all the time. But I'm saying we definitely want to find a balance. For all the things that we feel, right, we want to think about life in the way we want to experience life. And even if that's the end of life, how do we want to experience that? Right? So when we're in life, or leaning into life, and it doesn't matter how much life is left, because you never know that, I never know that, right? It doesn't matter if we've got cancer, or we don't have cancer, no one ever knows how much life is left. So what do you want that time to look like? If we put our energy into the thoughts of how scary it is? And I'm not saying don't make informed decisions, don't look at consequences don't look at a potential outcomes. But maybe you ask yourself, is the worst case scenario worth the best case scenario? So if the worst case scenario is, if I do something, I might fail? If I try, then there might not be good at it. If I do that, I might lose money. What's the best case scenario? is the best case scenario, if I try that I might succeed? If I try that, I might make even more money. If I try that, it might really work. And I might love it. Right? What's the best case scenario? And then when we have those two worst case scenario and best case scenario, we got to ask ourselves the question, why do we put our thoughts into the worst case scenario? Why do we put our energy into the worst case scenario? I often will coach people who told me, I wake up every day in fear. I wake up every day, and I think about when will I get cancer again? When is the other shoe gonna drop basically, in my life. And I want to offer that there's nothing wrong with that. It's a normal thought is an understandable thought. It's a natural thought. But when we notice that thought, then we could say to yourself, ah, today, I don't have cancer, or for me, when I wake up, I say, Huh, today, I think maybe I'm healed. Today. Isn't this awesome? If I get an x report that says I have no cancer in me, this is where I talk to myself when I wake up, right? I don't wake up and say, Oh, God, I hope I hope I don't find out. I have more cancer today. Right? We have a choice. Right? So maybe somebody says to me, Well, are you kidding yourself? Okay, let's say that I am. Well, today, I have metastatic cancer. But I'm not in pain. I'm living an amazing life. I feel good. I'm happy. I have a wonderful family, I have wonderful friends. And if I lived with this stage of cancer till I was 80 to 90 to 97, I don't know, I'll be fine, right? I don't have to completely heal, I can live with cancer, like we can be buds, we can hang out. As long as I'm taking good care of myself, it's not going to go all the way away, just kind of stay where you're at now. And that's what I put my energy into. Right? We have a choice. And somebody said to me the other day, she was talking to me about how much fear she lives in. And the fear of all the things, all the things, cancer, relationships, money, everything in life, that what if it all goes wrong? And when I offered to her, what if it all goes right? Like, what if there's some bumps in the road, but at the end of the day? It's amazing. You know, what if your kid who's great kid now stays a great kid? What if your relationship that's really good right now stays really good. Right? What if the fact that you have no evidence of disease right now sees that way forever? What about the fact that maybe if you have some cancer right now, but you're still functioning? What if it never gets worse? What is that? Is that delusional? Is that kidding yourself? Well, it's no different than telling yourself the other story. Right. So let's go back to the question that I would apply to that. What's the worst case scenario? The worst case scenario is well, I mean, cancer gets worse and you have to deal with it. Or you get cancer again, right? What's the best case scenario? Nothing like that ever happens? That it's good, right? That it stays good. And so it's choosing to believe and put energy in believing that something could work out and that the best case scenario is totally worth risking the worst case scenario, that the best case scenario is okay, because the worst thing that could happen is, it doesn't come true, right? And then I'm just where I am now. Anyway. So So, when we tell ourselves these stories, it's important to realize that it's all just thoughts. But as long as you think them, you're going to create that in your life, you're going to prove yourself right every single time. Now, sometimes we think that we're focusing on helping ourselves, we think we're focusing on a solution. But what's happening is we're telling ourselves the same story over and over again. And we're reinforcing what we don't want. Let me give you some examples.

Laura Lummer 10:39
When you say things like, I'm riddled with anxiety, I live with fear, I can't get my head around this, I have no control over my cravings. I'm that person that everything goes wrong for, right. When you say these things, first of all, you're living in the past. Because if any of that was ever true for you, it's not true today, right? It was in the past. And if we can bring ourselves present, and say, Well, hold on, I'm gonna make a decision to not live by my past self anymore. But I'm going to make a decision to live for my future self. Like, I'm going to make best friends with my future self, I'm going to decide the kind of life that I want her to have. And I want her to live. And I'm going to actually ask her for advice, like, what would my future self tell me to focus on? If she is where I want to be? What would she tell me to do today? Because when we put our energy into thinking that way, when we put our energy into creating that desired future self, then we're changing the story. So let me go back to those examples. If you wake up, and you say, I am constantly dealing with anxiety, okay? That's in the past, you are constantly dealing with anxiety, what a lot of right now, you made the decision and said, every day, I find ways to support myself to have less anxiety.

Laura Lummer 12:10
That just opened up a whole new chapter for you. Right? If you choose to think that instead, if you choose to tell yourself, today, I'm going to find another person who overcame anxiety, because if they can do it, I can do it too. Right? Now, we're looking for solutions. When we tell ourselves things like I live in fear every day. And think about how many times that whatever the thing is that bothers you in your life, whatever that thing is, that you wish was different, that's uncomfortable for you. But you hear yourself saying it to people over and over again. In that same way. Realize that every time you do that, you're reinforcing to your brain, this is how I live. Right. So we it's very sneaky. We think that maybe we're getting it out, maybe we're talking about it, because we're trying to find a solution or a way out of it. But we're reinforcing it over and over again. So when I was having this conversation with a woman the other day, and she was telling me how she's in extreme fear with every single aspect of her life. And I said, you know, offered to her that you could allow the fear to be there. Because it's normal, right? We don't want to resist fear. Because when we resist fear, we're putting energy into fear. We're making it bigger. When we resist anxiety, we're putting energy into anxiety, we're focusing on it, right? We're saying, I don't want it, I don't want it. But that's a focus on it, when we're talking about when we're thinking about it. And so I offered this to her, and she says, I don't know how to do that. Now I hear this often, I hear this often, I don't know how to do that. And that's okay. That's the beauty of what I do, right? That's what life coaching is all about. It's learning new skills to apply so that you could make your life better. And so we talked about how you do this. And I want to share that with you. Because I think that as often as I hear this, and as often as people say to me, I don't know how to do that, that there's a lot more out there than just what I hear. When we find ourselves stuck in some negative thought pattern. When we find ourselves proving again and again to ourselves that we're right about something that is uncomfortable, that we reinforcing. I have anxiety, I have fear I have whatever it is that you have, I'm afraid of this, I don't want to do that this might be scary. And you're telling yourself that story. You're hearing yourself say that. You're feeling the emotions that come with it. It's okay. You can let yourself feel that and we practice awareness. We practice that. Oh, I noticed today when I woke up, the first thought I had was something that brought up fear. What was that thought? Increase your awareness of what that thought is? When I think this I feel fear. So for example, from conversation I was having when I think I'm so afraid that I'm going to get cancer again, I feel fear. So we notice, okay, I feel fear. And I recognize that I'm not going to be able to stop my brain from randomly thinking that because I was traumatized. So it makes sense that that thought will pop back into my head. But when I noticed that I can say to that thought, Yeah, that's interesting. I knew you'd be coming. But you know, what? What if I never get cancer again? What if I put my energy into thinking today's just gonna be an amazing day? And today, I feel good. And as far as I know, I'm healthy. That's how we do that. Okay. When we're experiencing something that you think or you tell yourself, you don't have control over? You're a little bit, right. Right? You're a little bit right, in that the brain throws out random thoughts. That part is true. We can train our brain in those random thoughts have less power, because we train ourselves to recognize them. And then to choose a different thought that is true in the moment. Now, again, I want to go back to people saying, isn't this delusional? Right? Will? Isn't it kind of delusional, if you wake up every day telling yourself that the worst things in life are going to happen to you? There's no truth to that. There's no evidence, there's no proof. So if the story is worst case scenario is going to happen to me, then, why can't the story be? This is actually what's happening to me today. And I'm here and I'm safe, and I'm healthy, or I'm functioning, right? What is true for you today, can override those fears. So for someone who wakes up every day thinking, I'm so frayed, that I'm going to get cancer again, you can recognize that thought and then stop yourself from putting more energy into it by observing, you know, thinking over and over and, and saying, what about this pain? What about that pain? What about that story? You know, I have definitely come across many, many women who research stories about people who've gotten cancer back again, right? Or died from cancer, or how do they die from cancer? This is reinforcing negative thought patterns in your head. And you will prove yourself to be right over and over. This is scary. If I say this is scary, and I look and I can prove to you that happened to her, it happened to her it happened to her. But if you change your mind, and you decided to look for people that healed, you would find just as much evidence to prove to your brain, oh, people can heal, oh, people can have a cancer experience, and then never have another one. Look, here's more evidence, here's more evidence, here's more evidence, right? So we've got to decide to look at things that are true, right? Things that are true. So in this moment, what is happening in your life that is true, then we can choose our future version of ourself. And notice that our brain is trying to show us a very negative vision of our future version of ourselves. And we can choose a positive one, because both of those have happened. Right? So if we want to put our energy into the positive side and prove ourselves right there, I'd highly suggest we go that way. This is a process that you can do. And the way that you do it is just practicing awareness. Noticing my brain throughout this thought, I feel really scared when I think that thought what's true for me today, stay right there. Right. And, and we have to like the brain is this most fascinating organ, it's beautiful. And it works amazingly well when we train it to work in a way that gives us hope and encouragement and inspiration. So when I'm working with my clients, and when I'm working with myself, on leaning into life, it doesn't mean that negative emotions won't come up. You know, there have been many times over the past three years since my stage four diagnosis where I've decided to do big things in my life, or decided to take big trips. In fact, when you hear this podcast, I will be traveling in Italy. And when I first decide I want to do that, lots of nervousness comes up. Oh, how expensive is it going to be? How much time away from work? I gotta get my husband to take time away from work? will the impact be who will watch the dogs, right? How much prep do I have to do ahead of time to be able to go and keep the business going? All those thoughts will come up. And it's okay. Because some of them have to be dealt with. Some of them are just useless thoughts that I just have to work through and say okay, that's not helping me. How do I get to that future version of myself? Who's the woman who's traveling in Sorento? How do I get to her and the way that we do that is allow all the things to come up that come up. But then question them and decide that if the truth is, I'm always right. Because when I decide on something, I'm going to prove it to myself, that I want to be right about the things that I want to create in my life. I want to be honest with myself about what is happening in my life right now, catch my brain, when it's telling me things are gonna get worse, and then choose to put intention into creating that future version of myself that I want to lean into. And I'm going to lean into her was courage, because she's gonna have to be brave. Because uncomfortable feelings will come up as we lean into challenging ourselves, saying yes to doing hard things, saying yes to doing new things, saying yes to opening our mind to just receive new information. You know, when I did the sugar challenge, a couple of weeks ago, I loved this comment one of my clients had, and she said, You know, I was in the challenge, I was in the room, I was watching, I was listening, I was paying attention. But I was really in the challenge, because I wasn't doing it. And I was so proud of her because that is a great step forward that is leaning in, right? It's okay, not to be ready to take something on, because we take things on in small steps. But to lean in by just saying, You know what, let me be open to listening. Let me be open to exploring. Let me be open to just being curious about something. Right. Now we're leaning in. As soon as we do that, we start to notice the emotions that come up, and the thoughts that come up. And now we've got stuff to work with. And so in my membership, we use a tool called the model, which is a tool I was taught and trained on In The Life Coach School and my Life Coach School training. And sometimes people resist doing models and thought downloads. And that's because we have this idea that if I look at it, and if I write it down, I have to do something about it. Right. So if I see that something isn't working for me, I have, I'm obligated to change it, right, we've got that thought we tell ourselves that. But it isn't true. So the purpose of using a tool, like a thought download or tool like I teach with the model, is to open ourselves to examining. And I tell my members all the time, you don't have to fix anything, I just want you to start to see things for what they are. This is the beauty of the tool, this is the beauty of the practice of being present. So that you become more aware, to just see what is and you give yourself permission to just be open to awareness, right without the pressure of change. Because when you're ready for change, when the person who was in the room decides she wants to be in the challenge, she'll get there, right. But we start by just being open to being in the room, to hearing information, to exploring what we want to do, to exploring how we want our life to look to exploring some of the tools we may need to adapt. And some of the skills that we need may need to practice to get there. Just thinking about them and noticing them. That's a first step and leaning in. And as soon as you do them friend, our wonderful human brains like Oh, hold on,

Laura Lummer 23:32
hold on, maybe this will go wrong, maybe that'll go wrong, maybe you'll have to give something up. Maybe you won't like it, maybe it'll be uncomfortable. And that's awesome. Let your brain tell you that. Allow yourself to be aware of it. Don't fight it. This is where the problem comes in. When we fight it, we think we're trying to solve for it. And we're just putting more energy into it. But when we stay in curiosity, when we say to ourselves, Wow, that's fascinating. Look at all these thoughts that came up, then we can just notice, wow, this is all just thoughts. And I have the ability to choose different ones. What do I want to choose? What thoughts are stopping you from leaning into life? Meaning going all in on anything you want? I want more love, I want more joy, I want more activity. I want more fulfilling work, whatever it is, and you go in and you're scared. Okay? Look at the thoughts but keep going in. Right? You go in and you think I might be wrong. I might. I'm experiencing self doubt. Okay, cool. We knew self doubt was coming. Lean into the self doubt, right? When we lean in, we embrace we evaluate we get curious. Instead of resist, that we move forward. Right? So wherever you're at in your life, remember this. You are always right. So what are you thinking? Ng and do you want to be right about that? Or would you prefer to be right about something else? Right? When it feels scary? Remember that the best case scenario is just as possible. And what if the best case scenario were guaranteed? Like if best case scenario where guaranteed on anything that is that you're thinking about in your life? Would you go all in? And if best case scenario didn't happen is worst case scenario, you just aren't where you already are right now. It's not such a bad deal, right? And I want you to remember the thing is never scary, is what I think about it that's stopping me from leaning into my life, and stepping into more joy, and creating a life that's better than before breast cancer. You can do it. If you need help with it. Come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching, membership. Get all the details at the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash live coaching, or scroll down where you listen to this podcast, click on the link and join me get live coaching, get support, get a community of women who not only get what you've been through, but also are leaning into life also are trying to create something better and want to learn the skills and adapt the tools to be able to do that. It's awesome. All right, my friends, take care do some thought work and I'll talk to you again soon until then please be good to yourself.

Speaker 1 26:36
You've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts your mind is greater than before your hardest, wanting more. Your futures Give it all you know you've been waiting on



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