#338 Navigating Life Beyond Breast Cancer - How to Embrace Life's Uncertainties

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Does it feel like nothing is going your way?

Do you hear yourself saying you take two steps forward and one step back?

Do you feel like you’re not gaining momentum and as a result, you beat yourself up?

If any of those or anything like that resonates with you, this is an episode you want to listen to.

The fact is, life is always going off the rails so why don’t we anticipate that to begin with?

What if you could accept the fact that life is never linear, know that things will go wrong sometimes, and instead of resisting that… plan on how you’ll support yourself when things don’t go your way?

Let’s dig into what that would be like.

Listen now and learn how to give yourself a break, let go of some suffering, and love yourself for doing the best you can.


Referred to in this episode:

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The Husbands

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Read the full transcript:

You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life, that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started.

I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am so happy to be here with you today. Before I get started, I want to just let you know that I am doing a workshop, when you listen to this podcast that will be coming out in the workshop is about a week from now. And it's called Managing your mind and your emotions after breast cancer. You know, there's a skill that I have learned and a process and I work with my clients, my members on this all the time. And it's so important because it relieves so much stress from your life and gives you back so much power over your emotions. And we think so many times that we don't have power over our emotions that they just run wild with us. And that we're just, we have to just roll with it, that we're the victims of it or all the thoughts that our brain throws at us. And if you listen to this podcast, hopefully you've already picked up some tips and know that there are ways to manage your mind around that. But we're going to dig in very specifically. And I'm going to give you a process that outlines step by step on a way to look at the circumstances in your life and manage your emotions around them. And the three biggest things that our mind throws up at us that we also have to learn to deal with to overcome this belief that we're just under stress, right stress has such an impact on our health overall. And are we really are things stressful or are things stressors, right? I talked about that, I think on last week's episode. And so in this workshop, I'm going to show you how to see the difference. So you can register for free. It's a free workshop. And you can click the links here in the show notes for this episode. Or just go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com, you'll see it right on the homepage, grab a seat at the managing your mind and emotions workshop, or go to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash mind. Either way, all those ways you can get into this workshop, show up get coaching, it's a 60 minute workshop. But I have marked myself off my books for an additional 30 minutes after that, because this is a big topic, and I have a lot I want to share with you. And I want to be able to answer all of your questions around it. So if people have more questions, I'm willing to stay an additional 30 minutes to answer them. So grab your seat, come and join me. It's going to be really fascinating and a fun time. All right, and talking about managing our mind. Let's get into today's episode. So first of all, let me share a story with you. I am part of a book club, my niece started this book club several months ago, it gets bigger and bigger every month. There's a lot of ladies in it. And once a month we show up to discuss this book, we have dinner together. My niece is very talented, she should be an event planner, she makes these custom and themed cocktails to go with whatever book and you know, this time we're going to be doing a camping theme. And the book that we read was called trailed. And it's a true crime. But we have a different genre every month. And this was a true crime story about a real incident that happened on the Appalachian Trail. And I'll link to that book in the show notes episode if you want to read it. But I will tell you, there's a lot of triggers in it. It's a true crime book, it goes into a real incident that happened. And it happened to women. So in this book, as I'm reading this book, oh my god, I just there's something I am all about female empowerment. And when I read things where women are victims of violent crimes, and I see just you know, psychopaths thinking that they can take advantage of women or I just go it's intense for me. Right? And so there were many times I had to put the book down. So I was like, Okay, I am getting way too angry here with all my thoughts about how wrong this is. So I had to keep walking away from it. I finished the book and it actually is a really good book, very well written really informative. But coming out of that book, I was like, Okay, I need something light hearted. I need a book that is not going to be giving me true, triggering everything that pisses me off. I need a light hearted book. And so I'm also a member of the Book of the Month Club. And I got this new book and it's called the husbands. As I read the summary for this book. It sounded really cute. It sounded really fun. And I'll just give you just a quick summary. The book is about a young single woman comes home and there's this man or

house. And she goes through a series of things happen in the moment when she discovers this. And she realizes this man is her husband, but she's never been married. And then it goes on. And she realizes that she has this magic attic. I know this sounds really juvenile. But the book is really well written the story, I had a hard time putting it down. It's a well written story. Because each time this husband goes up into the attic, a different husband comes down. And so she is really experiencing all these different husband experiences and evaluating, like, what does she really want in life, and what's really important in life, and what do relationships mean, and what's a good relationship and what's not a good relationship. And it's funny, there's a lot of comedy written into it. But I read this one line. And this line got me thinking, so I want to read it to you now. So basically, she's at her best friend's wedding. And she's already been through a series of husbands to try to pick out the best plus one to go to this wedding. So she's at this wedding. And here's the line. And she says, her name is Lauren, the character. And it says Lauren cries a little during the ceremony. And some of it might be for the confusion of her own last weddings. Because when she realizes each different husband, she's got wedding pictures change in her house and on her phone. And so she gets to see what her wedding was like, but she was not at the wedding. So she doesn't have memories of it, right. So it says it might be for the confusion of her own last weddings. But mostly, it's the usual, Elena and Rob seems certain and happy. And they're making a decision, even though nobody can ever really be sure about anything. And everything in the world is always falling apart. Now, I read that line. And I know that that can sound depressing.

But it got me thinking, because here's the thing I see and coach people on so often, the difficulty in making a decision, the fear of making the wrong choice, the wrong decision, doing something wrong, not doing the right thing for yourself. And the expectation that things will be linear, the expectation that when you do make a decision, so let's say you do make a decision to care for yourself in a certain way you make a decision to get healthier with your food, let's go for the simple, let's go for the low hanging fruit, make a decision to get healthier through food, maybe you make a decision that you want to lose a few pounds or put on a few pounds of muscle. And so you get a program and you start to follow this program. And then a birthday comes up, an anniversary comes up, a sickness comes up a treatment needs to happen. And you don't lose the weight. Or you fall off the plan because you have birthday cake or a cocktail at the party or something like that. And then we beat ourselves up. Sometimes we can stick to this plan. Like I can think of times where I've stuck to my workout routine for years, consistently for years. And then something has happened. And I've gotten really sick or had an injury or wasn't able to or traveled. And then when he got back from travel, things were busy and fell off the wagon. And then a couple of weeks go by and it's like, whoa, what am I letting happen here, and I have to do the work to get back on track. And that's fine. And that happens all the time. The line, what really got me where it says everything is always falling apart is not untrue. It also doesn't have to be depressing. You know, it's just important to realize that life happens. So I hear comments a lot like my life is on hold, or things are on hold or for women who want to do something for themselves. But they tell themselves the story. Well, first, I have to take care of this. And then when my kids stuff is taken care of then maybe I can come back around to me. Or yeah, I tried doing that. But then everything got busy and it just fell by the wayside.

I think that our own self care, our own plan to love on our self care for ourselves care for our body. It falls by the wayside when we perceive life as falling apart when we perceive when we see or experience unexpected things. But the important thing is that we should always expect unexpected things. When we do that. Or let's go back when we don't do that. If you don't think unexpected things are going to come up in your life. And you just think you've got a plan. And this is it. 100% you're gonna follow the plan and the plan is gonna work.

You will 100% of the time be disappointed because that's just not how life works. Life is always changing, things fall apart, unexpected things happen. And when they do, why is it that we say? See nothing ever

It was right for me, rather than saying, of course that was gonna happen, because unexpected things always happen in life, like we live in this world in this dimension where just unexpected things happen. What life? Or what person? Do you know who's ever lived a life where something unexpected hasn't happened? So when we decide

to take care of ourselves, or when we're looking at our life, or we want to achieve or accomplish something, I think that the worst thing we could do to ourselves is expect the plan to go smoothly, is expected to be perfect. expect us to be perfect, expect the process to be linear. It never works that way. Where do we even get this idea? In my opinion, my spiritual opinion is because I think spirit is perfect. And so because that big part of us is Spirit, and we have that knowing or that connection to something that is perfect, we think it translates into this worldly material human life. And it doesn't, right, it just doesn't. So an important part of caring for yourself is knowing unexpected things will come up. And planning for unexpected things, is knowing that the only way you'll ever know if something is right, is once you've made a decision and then experience the thing. And then you'll look back and say that worked out well. Or that didn't work out well. And even when you decide, listen, I'm going to commit to this one thing, and I'm going to do it right, you got to figure it out along the way. Because your first idea of what it should look like is only an idea. And when you implement it into your life, you'll see if that idea works or not. So here's the question.

Whatever it is you want to create in your life, however it is you want to treat yourself, whatever it is that you want to get to? Are you willing to show up and consistently do the work to get there? For as long as it takes? Or are you willing to do it for two weeks? Are you willing to do it for six months? Will you say to yourself, yeah, I'd like to do that. But it's only important enough to me that I'm gonna try it for three months. And if it three months, I don't feel better about it. I don't like it. It's not working for me, I'm out. There's nothing wrong with that. And in fact, I often advise people that if they're unsure of something, can you just commit to it for a small period of time, and then decide if that's something you really want to do. But for instance, something like when it comes to our health? So if you listen this podcast with any regularity, you know, my motto, what do I need to do today to support my ability to heal? Right? Sunday's, and I'm on it, weeks, months, I'm on it. In sometimes

not. Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I give into urges. Sometimes I allow myself to look at stressors and get stressed out about them. Sometimes I have too many things on my calendar. And so I don't get good sleep, because I'm thinking about all the things I want to get up and do. So it isn't a matter of being perfect. But becoming more aware of what I do to get in my own way. And I'm saying that without judgment. Because the one thing I am committed to do, no matter what is not beat myself up for when I don't follow the plan, or the plan doesn't go right, or something else comes up, that throws me off track, I will not beat myself up. I will not talk down to myself. Like that is my healthy boundary with me. I won't call myself names, I won't beat myself up. I will just see what I'm doing with curiosity. But I will keep showing up. I will keep showing up for myself, because I'm determined to figure out how to heal. And I'm determined to do it as long as it takes. So far. Let's see, I'm in three and a half years since my stage four diagnosis, and I'm still figuring it out. I don't wake up some days and realize I'm not in ketosis. I must have been something wrong. Why haven't I figured this out in three and a half years? But I look at it and say, okay, huh, that's an interesting thing. What is it about my body that fluctuates sometimes, so it doesn't work the way I expect it to work? What is affecting it and just approach it with curiosity, and know that that's how it's going to be. My body doesn't work the same all the time. Different things affected, different seasons affected different foods affected different life occurrences affect it. And so that affects the results that I get from it. But I'm willing to keep showing up. And I'm not willing to beat myself up or call myself a failure when it doesn't work. Things are always falling apart. That's just the truth. Right? It just happens. But what do we make it mean when things fall apart? And when I say fall apart? I mean they don't go according to your

plan to your expectation. So what do you make it mean, when that doesn't happen? This is an important answer, just as I'm talking about this coming up, this is what we're going to talk about in that workshop. What do you make these things mean to you, that creates so much more suffering for you, and impact your health in such a negative way, when they don't have to?

You know, think about this business. And many people that I've met early on in my business that wanted to start their own business, or people who've come to me for coaching, because they wanted to start their own business. And they've discovered me, and they want to ask, like, what are my first steps? And what do I do? And the secret is, keep showing up. Just be consistent. Show up, mess up, figure it out, pick yourself up, keep going. And this is the same with our life. Our life is never on hold. We never lost part of our life, because it was part of our life. Right? So did things fall apart? And do you look back at it? Or are you in it right now? Is something not going the way you expected life to go? And you're in it and you're thinking this sucks? This isn't the life I want it? Well, that's one of the things that also comes up that makes it harder for you is resisting what is in life. And just going this is life. Things don't go as expected. How do I take care of myself in this situation? Right? How do I know the best decision to make I don't,

never sure if it's the best decision. But I can say, if I get to know myself, and I'm informed, that is the best decision or it feels like the best decision for me right now. And this is a beautiful thing. We're grownups. So we get to change your mind. So if a decision ends up not being what you want, or if some other fact comes into play, and you change mind, you get to change directions to that's the beautiful thing, right? We have flexibility, pretty much nothing we decide to commit to in real life has to be a lifetime commitment. If you decide to take a new job, you don't have to be there for 30 years, right? And then people will say, well, I might look flaky. Well, flaky is just a story. Right? I didn't follow through with that I tried this diet, then I tried that diet. And if I try another diet, people might think I'm flaky. I just think you're curious. And I think you're committed. And I think you're determined to keep showing up for yourself until you figure out what works for you. And so you figure out what works for your life. So as we go through this life journey,

it's so important to consider those thoughts. Do I think everything should go according to plan?

And when it does not go according to plan? How will I be good to myself and support myself? You know, when you create a lifestyle plan, or even a dietary plan for somebody, as a nutritionist, as a nutrition coach, as a personal trainer, when I created exercise plans for people,

the one thing I'd always ask them is what will get in the way?

Because things will get in the way. So no one upfront, commit to it upfront. No, this will get in the way look at your calendar and say, Oh, those weekends I'm traveling, travel is going to make this more difficult for me. Fantastic. If we know what's going to get in the way, then we can plan around it. So when travel gets in the way of a regular routine, how can we help you stay as close to routine as possible? While you travel? Oh, the kids go back to school here are soccer season starts there. Things get busy there. That's going to get in the way. Fantastic. So that's going to take up this amount of time. How do we work around it to support you? Oh, you have to go through another cancer treatment. Another surgery, you thought this was all behind you. Here it comes again. It's now a part of your life. And when we when we don't look at that and say this is just a part of life, I wasn't expecting

that it's just a part of life. It's not all of life. And when you make it all of life, when we say things like I can't take care of myself now I can't do that for myself now. I have to do for others first or this unexpected thing happened now I can't do what I wanted to do. We've got to realize that when we use that kind of language, we put ourselves in a place of no power as just a victim of circumstances in life and that feels terrible. That's a terrible, terrible feeling. So it's important to remember a couple of things. One, nothing will ever go as expected. If you've ever bought a new house, has anything under construction never goes according to plan. Something will always go wrong. I don't know why I don't know why it happens. And it doesn't matter why it happens. If

We can just look at and go, that is how it happens. This is how it happens. Let me expect it. So that I set myself up for what's really coming and learn how to support myself through it. Right? So one thing is looking at your ideas, if you're in this place where you're feeling down, where you're feeling frustrated, where you're feeling defeated, where you feeling like you can't do life, ask yourself, what is your story? What are you expecting from life? Why did you think that everything will go smoothly? You know, what made you think that that's just a story to write, it's all made up. And then that dropping that resistance, right, when you're in what you're in, it is what it is. And that just sounds so simple, but it's just a simple truth. Right? This is this way right now. And if you resist it, you make things harder on yourself. But when you see it for what it is, and you expect it to be challenging at times, then you can support yourself. And it's always going to be a choice, right? So statements like my life is on hold. That is never true. Life is always happening each day is still going by the plan you had may not, you may not be able to execute that plan right now. Maybe you can maybe you can't maybe you're just telling yourself, you can't I don't know. But when we look at life as being on hold, we have to realize you're making a conscious choice not to do things that you're saying are on hold. And if you're making that conscious choice, because it's right for you right now. Great. That's even better, right? Doesn't it feel better to say, Well, I'm putting that off. Now let's say we're going through treatment, let's say we're in a difficult spot in our relationship, and we wanted to go take this class or go on this adventure. But right now, this relationship needs a lot of attention, or my body needs to go into a treatment, and that treatment is going to require attention and energy. So I make a decision that I'm not going to do these other things right now. Because I'm going to devote my energy to this thing. That's so much more powerful when we own our choice and realize that it absolutely is a choice, right that things didn't go according to plan. And when that happened, you made a choice as to where you wanted to focus your energy. When you realize that something was going off track, you stopped and said, This is not working for me.

So I'm going to choose to put more attention over here, not this thing, this sucks. This is a bummer. Of course, this is ridiculous. Now I can't go do the fun things I want to do. That's just such this powerless mentality that we want to move past and be in charge always right of our life. And when I say in charge of my life, does that mean it stops unexpected things it does not? It means we realize that each step of the way we make conscious choices. We recognize the reality of life, that things fall apart. And then we don't know what the right thing is, until we try it out until we step into it. And then we make changes along the way to get closer and closer and closer. To make it right for us. It is really into stepping into this process, right being in the process of anything you're doing. And knowing that a process means it's a learning experience, that you're going to figure it out as you go along, that you're going to reach out for help hopefully, when you need it, support from people who have been there, borrow hope when you can't feel any for yourself. But that when you notice the thoughts of self judgment coming up, when you notice that you're beating yourself up, when you notice that you're calling yourself a loser, because things didn't go the way you planned, that that's when you've got to step in and give yourself even more love. And, you know, I read that line in that book. And it just it resonated with me so much. Because I hear it so much, and it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking to see the suffering we bring on ourselves, and I'm guilty of it too. I've done to myself so many times, have a plan think a plan is gonna go this way. It doesn't go that way. Ah, so frustrating, right? And that's okay. We get to be frustrated. We get to be frustrated and realize that's not what I wanted. And then we get a drop and say okay, but that is in how do I support myself. I don't know how many times I've made that statement in this podcast because I want to drill it in. It's always a choice. How do I support myself? What do you need? I asked my clients this all the time. What do you need today to support yourself? What do you need to do today to support yourself? And lots of times that will cause the mind to go off into a wild spin? You know, I need so and so to do this right? So instead of that and I need that to change and I need this to change, but when you think like that

At any, you don't have power over those things, then you're never going to find a solution for yourself. So when I say what do I need to support myself, it has to come back to you to what you have power over, I need to take time off, I need to have a conversation, I need to reevaluate a boundary, I need to uphold a boundary, I need space. I need exercise, I need something right. So it's what you can choose to do for yourself, because we can't control other things around us. And we can't stop other things from falling apart or other people from doing what they're going to do. So we always have to come back to us. What's the story I'm telling myself? And what can I do to support myself? Is the story working for me now. And we wouldn't do that. We just start to create so much more power, so much more independence, when we own our choices, even when all of our choices are hard, right? I've talked about this before, there's times in life, when neither choice feels like a good choice, because they're both going to have consequences, they're going to be really tough to deal with. We see this in cancer treatment all the time. Will I choose standard of care? Will I choose alternative care? Will I choose to integrate my care? Will I have to battle with my doctor over it? Will my family think I'm making the wrong choice. And we can get stuck in other people's thoughts and beliefs. And sometimes we just have to look and say, either of these decisions may be a tough one, both of these decisions, other people's thoughts might come into play. So how do you protect yourself when that happens? So this forecasting, right, this understanding, things won't always be easy, things won't always be smooth. Things will almost all the time, go off track at some point. And ask yourself, that's okay. saying to yourself, that's okay, I know this will happen. Here's my plan to take care of myself, always planning for those setbacks. And again, that's not in a negative way. It's just in a realistic way. When you're in project planning, like in a corporate environment, and you've got a big event or something coming up, you got to look at the critical points of things that are going to get in the way. And then you look at those things that might get in the way and you say if this should happen, What's plan B, if this doesn't go right, What's plan B, and then you have a back up plan. And you have that not because you're planning on something going wrong, but because you know, there are going to be some spots in life, in projects, in events, in plans, in journeys, where things won't go as expected. And knowing it ahead of time makes it so much easier to take better care of yourself. So that it's not a stressful, mind blowing, horrible, traumatic process. So let's, you know, sometimes it's like, I see so many parallels with business, when we look at businesses or my own business and the things that we have to go through to build a successful business. And so many times that parallels with what we have to do for our life, being really intentional about how we spend our time in our life, being very realistic about the fact that things are always falling apart somewhere for somebody. And what are we going to do about that? Being very realistic about the fact that we can only do so much due diligence before making a decision. And then we have to have our own back and trust ourselves that this is the best decision we can make at this time. And you'll adjust it as you go along.

I think the bottom line, the ultimate message here is heck, give yourself a little grace. You know, stop beating yourself up so much. Don't tell yourself, you're a loser, you're a failure. Tell yourself you're in the process of life. And you're doing a great job at it. Because we're always doing the very best we can do. And what more can you expect? Right? Here we are. I want one time to if you've heard of Rachel Hollis, she's a motivational speaker. She wrote the book girl wash your face. And I saw her speak one time. And she gave this beautiful analogy. And I think about it often. And she says, you know, you decide that you're going to take your life from here and she's kind of puts her hand out like at the bottom of a hill. And you're gonna go all the way up to the peak of that mountain. Like you decide. That's the mountain that I'm gonna do. Like that's at the top of that mountain is that goal for whatever it is you want in your life. And you're like, Yeah, this feels good. It feels right. And I'm so excited. And so you start to traverse up this mountain, and this big, huge boulder comes down and you got to jump out of the way of the boulder. And there was a close call but then I'm gonna get to the top of that mountain. That's what I want. I want to get there. So you keep going up and then another big boulder comes and then another and then they start coming faster and then they're gone for a while and then out and you think you're good and then another big boulder comes. But no matter what happens, you may just keep jumping off the

path, you may keep switching trails to avoid boulders, but you just keep moving up the mountain.

And I think that's a really great analogy for life, especially life has cancer involved in it. So we make the best decisions we can. And we step into the process knowing

that things might just fall apart. All right. And that's why we have communities right? When things fall apart, we can turn to the people in our community, and borrow hope from them, because they've all had the same experience. Right? They've all had something fall apart. But just being super intentional about the fact that that you still want to participate in your life, and be in charge of your choices and your decision to just keep showing up. And to get the support. When you're tired, exhausted, maybe sick, maybe defeated, and you need some more energy to help you keep moving forward. Right? Super important stuff, is another thing I talk about a lot better emphasize it here is we shouldn't do this alone. A community is so important. You know, I work from my home, you know, I have an online business. And this last weekend that I spent in Texas with a group of people who do the same thing that I do as an advocate as a metabolic trainer advocate, and the energy of that community, and the shared stories with each other the triumphs and the challenges, you know, the successes, and the failures, were so wonderful to share with each other. And I think that's a great part of community. So when you see things and you think things are falling apart, it's really time to lean into your community, lean into your champions. And to do it in such a way that you know, that we all need a shoulder to lean on sometimes. Right because things are always falling apart somewhere. Alright my friends, well take good care of yourself. Get the book The husband's I'll link to at the bottom. It's a really fun book. And just try to create the skill and the habit of giving yourself grace and just keep showing up for you. Alright, take care

your head you've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts.

Mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures




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