#348 Using Breast Cancer, Grief, And Fear To Inspire A Better Life

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Breast cancer and life can have a lot of grief, loss, and fear involved, and we can either use those emotions to create even more suffering, or we can choose to use them in ways that inspire us to live even better lives.

Recently the anniversary date of the loss of my brother came around and it got me to thinking about all the ways that loss impacted my life.

In this episode, I'll share all the ways that I turned that grief into growth.

It certainly wasn’t easy and it took time and work to understand how to use fear and grief to my benefit rather than resisting them and allowing them to create even more pain in my life.

This is an episode of hope and encouragement in the face of sadness.


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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.

Hey, friends, you're listening to Episode 348 are better than before breast cancer. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I want to start off this episode with some very special thank yous. I often ask if you enjoy the show to leave a rating or review. And it's been a while since I've acknowledged and said some thank yous to those of you who've been leaving reviews, I don't see who leaves ratings, I just see that I get ratings. But when you leave a review, it shows me your username. So I want to say thank you, even though the usernames, I hope you know your usernames, because sometimes I kind of wonky, and I don't even know what my username is, if I'm honest. And I think about what it would show up like on Apple, I have no idea. So hopefully you know your username and I want to say thank you to you hugs 117, you left a five star rating and a review titled breath of fresh air czar T s ar 1234, you left a five star rating and a review titled grateful and N exclamation point, the E k, you left a five star review and a rating that says wisdom for the whole person. And I really, really appreciate you taking the time I've read these reviews. They're so sweet. And they're so meaningful to me. And I just I thank you so much, you know, it ratings and reviews, they're not only helpful for people to find the show, for the show to get shown to more people when you like, subscribe, follow you know anywhere where you listen to the podcast, all of those actions make it easier for the podcast to be shown to more people. But I gotta tell you from a personal perspective, it really means a lot to me. It's a lot of work behind the scenes, you know, to do a podcast, edited, promoted all of that kind of stuff to get it out there. And the whole reason for me ever having started this was to help someone. Right? I was in a place where I just felt like I just was alone, right that nobody was going through what I was going through, because that's what I was hearing until I discovered that was not correct. And I wanted to do something to change that space so that other women knew there was support for them. And I got to tell you, over the seven years since I've started this podcast, and my coaching practice and all of my memberships and programs, that there's been a huge blossoming of other women stepping into this space of coaching after breast cancer. And it's so important because, you know, some people might resonate with me and my message and the way I teach and support and coach and some may not. So the it's so cool to see other women stepping up. And using what is unique to their experience, to reach out to others of us who have had a breast cancer diagnosis. And I know there's going to be a voice out there, whether it's my voice or someone else. And the more chances that people get to hear the different voices, the better chance they will have for someone who will resonate with them, who will speak to them in a way that will be helpful and supportive to them. So thank you so much for supporting this podcast, all of you who listen, and thank you so much for taking the time to rate review, follow subscribe, all of the actions that you take to help and support the show. I really, really appreciate it. So we're talking about meaningful things I'm going to share with you this last weekend on May 19, was the 31st anniversary of the death of my brother, my brother died at 32 years old from testicular cancer, I was 30 at the time. And you know, 31 years later, it's interesting, like, of course, you never forget, you still love that person, you think about that person and you miss that person. And wow, when I think back at 31 years of him being gone, and how much his life has meant to me over that 31 years. And for those 32 years before or 30 I was only 30. And I just think about what a tremendous impact it's had and how much growth I've experienced in my life because of what happened to my brother. You know, I think about in the beginning. It was terrible. I was a hot mess after he died. And part of that as I was reflecting on it this week. And I thought part of that is that I believe like in my perspective, I don't know if this was true from the way my parents would think about it, but I just didn't see bad things happening to people. I had a really easy time. Ultimate, I would say I mean, we had a normal dysfunctional family like everyone's dysfunctional family. But I didn't have any big traumas, no one in my life, my grandparents didn't die until I was in my late 20s. There were no huge catastrophes or anything like that, just the normal craziness that happens inside of a family, right. And so I think that not really thinking bad things happen. And then going that far into life, and then having something so traumatic happen, is really difficult to wrap your mind around. And I think that's one of the reasons why when I talk on this podcast, hopefully I don't present everything as rainbows and unicorns, I talk about the fact that, you know, breast cancer is hard life is hard, managing the fears, and the questions and the struggles we have, after a cancer diagnosis through treatment after treatment, managing disease in your body, long term, wherever you might be on that spectrum. All of that is challenging. But at the same time, there's a lot of good happening. And so I think that, as I reflect on, what I've learned from losing my brother, from missing my brother, and from having had him in my life, is that I could use that fear, in that grief of losing him and apply it to me right after my cancer diagnosis. And I hear this a lot. And I experienced this when I was first diagnosed. And again, with my second diagnosis, this fear of what if I die? How would that impact the people I love? And I think that for me, and for a lot of women that I coach, I hear that this is a stronger fear than than death itself, right, the fear of how the people we love will be impacted. And as I thought about that, this weekend, this week, I thought, you know, how do I want to approach that in my life? I could use the How will they be impacted? How will they be sad? You know, it just kind of breaks my heart, when I think about it that way, there is inevitable that when we lose people we love, there'll be sadness. But as it relates to my life now, I feel like there's choices that we have. And I have this choice to think about how life goes and how life ends. And we all know, everyone's life is going to end. Like there's two things that we never talked about in society, or that we avoid, like the plague, talking about money and talking about death. And there's two things that everybody must do in their life, deal with money and die, right? But why don't we talk about why can we become more familiar with it so that we can look at it from a more abundant perspective. And what I mean by that is that I can use fear of death, fear of illness, fear of impact on my loved ones, to really weigh heavy on my life, and to take me into this place where I'm constantly questioning why why did this has to happen? Why me? Why then, or I can use it to say what now? Right? I can use that to say like, of course, experience your feelings, even really embrace the fears that come up, and use those fears because they're real, instead of resisting and pushing them away. Use them to say, how can I use this fear to make my life better? Because we can use fear to make our life scares, we can get stuck in the why. And we can also choose to use fear and say, Yeah, I'm afraid I'm going to die sooner than I want to die. Or I'm afraid that this isn't gonna go well, for me, whatever your fears might be, I'm afraid I'm going to have a recurrence. Or we can say, well, what now? And what if, you know, how do I want this life to look now? And I think that's one of the biggest catalysts to change. When I say better than before breast cancer. I mean it and I think that when we look at our life, from The what now perspective, what does this mean to me now? Where am I at now? How are things affecting me now? Is this what I want in my life? That's the catalyst to change. If we get stuck in the why, we'll probably never figure out the way Why did I get cancer? Why did I get cancer twice? Who knows? Right? I can look at things that I think have impacted my life. And then identify them, I can say, Okay, what now? What will have an impact on those things? How can I change them? How can I address them to make it better going forward? Right. So I don't have regrets and guilt and blame from what happened in the past. And yeah, I never truly know if those reasons are why I got it, right. They're just meaningful to me. They're why I think I did. And that's really I think the best that you can get unless you have a specific Hey, you know, I was at Chernobyl and got exposed to all kinds of radiation, okay, then you're gonna know why you got cancer, right? And even then, there's some people who get exposed Hoosiers who Abraca htm check genes who have you know, the genetics and the Long family lineage of cancer and they don't get it, right. So some people might say, it's just totally random. And maybe it is, maybe someday we'll figure out why. But getting stuck in the why now, when we can't really ever no 100% Y can just lead us through a lot of scarcity and fear. And so that's why I think that over getting past my own being stuck in the why, which was my first diagnosis and with my brother, just really led to a lot of anger and frustration, that when I asked myself what now I feel like, I can allow myself to feel everything and say, This is sad, this is scary. This feels threatening. So what now? What can I do to empower myself? What choices can I make, because when I think about my kids, my husband, my mom, and you may have heard me say this on the podcast before 80s, my mom is 83 years old, and I teased her, I'm like, I'm gonna outlive you, mom. And she'll say to me, we both got one foot in the grave, and one foot on a banana peel, and, you know, was kind of make light of it. But I don't want my mom to see to lose another child, you know, I don't want her to go through that pain. And honestly, I use that as motivation, to be better to myself, right to stay on my program to be as healthy and as focused on healing as I can. So I use that desire to not want something to happen as an inspiration and a motivation to do the things to stay away from it. And and I want to be clear on that, because we can do it in fear, right? We can do it with fear on our minds all the time saying, I'm afraid of that, I'm afraid of that. Or we can step into power and say, you know, what, I have heard from all of these resources, and all of these studies, that if I do these things, they will support my healing. And that's how I want to feel healthy and fulfilled and energetic and vibrant. So we can step into caring for ourselves in that perspective. For me, and this may not apply to a lot of people. For me, I hear people say discipline and willpower. To me, that's like coming from a place of scarcity, because it's kind of like saying, we can't have things right. This is another phrase that I always encourage my clients don't use, when they say I can't have sugar, I can't have that cake, I can't have that cocktail, you can have whatever you want, we can always have whatever we want. For me, I can have anything I want to have. But I choose not to indulge in certain things. Because I don't believe they're supporting the goal. I have a feeling, right. And sometimes I still choose to indulge in things that I think this isn't going to support my healing. And I'm going to do it anyway right now, just because I want to have a piece of cheesecake or something right? Not often, but I do. I mean, it's life, right? When I think about fear, scarcity, anger laws. I think, of course, I don't want my loved ones to experience that stuff. But I also have no control over that, right. But what I do have control over what now is to live such an amazing life, that they have something to celebrate, you know, when my dad passed has been about 13 years, my dad went into a terrible depression after my brother died. And my dad used to be super fit super strong. And he just became morbidly obese, develop Type Two Diabetes had a heart attack, he had all kinds of things going on. And so when he passed, my greatest sadness was that my dad didn't live the life he wanted to live. Because when I was a kid, I can remember him imagining his retirement and the things he was going to do in his retirement and the freedom he was going to have. And, you know, he had six kids, he was right as well and didn't have a lot of freedom in his younger years. But I just remember him dreaming about that. And for me, I thought the biggest sadness was that he just didn't live the life he wanted to live because he got stuck in so much fear and grief and loss after my brother. So again, I think we can learn from that grief, right? I learned that from my dad that I'm just, I won't allow myself not to live my life. My oncologist, I freak him out all the time. Because like, where are you going? Now? What do you hiking now? Where are you going? Please be careful. Maybe you shouldn't do so much. And I think no, I should do more. Because this life is so amazing and wonderful. And I am not going to let fear of anything stop me from experiencing it. And this is definitely a lesson that I learned over losing these people that I love. And by having this stage four diagnosis, you know when I got the stage four diagnosis in 2020 I went through a lot of thinking and reviewing my life and I made a decision To live harder, live more, right? I made a decision to grow my business more, you know, I got this diagnosis. And within a month, I was already reframing and creating a new program that was going to come up for the next year because I believed that the more life I brought into my life, the healthier I would become, that I would meet that level, right that I would rise up to that. And yes, of course, I would do all of the things required to treat the disease to support my healing. But I believe that supporting my healing, in part was living a bigger life, a more meaningful life, and promising myself and being my own best friend, when it came to not doing things I did not want to do, except for, of course, paying taxes and things like that, but actually worked on my mindset around looking at that even from an abundant place, like when I have to pay taxes, isn't it wonderful that I have made enough money, that I have taxes to pay, and that I have the money to pay the taxes, right, we can change our thought process around anything, when we want to step into abundance. And I think that this is probably some of the biggest lessons that I have learned from losing people that I love, and from facing my own mortality is that mortality is a thing. You know, life is obviously tentative, we're only here for an undefined period of time. But what's most meaningful in that is to make it count, you know, to not let time go by with the people that we love to be very intentional. And, you know, is interesting over the last couple of weeks, and I would say probably one of the biggest objections that I hear from clients that I coach, especially when we're coaching on health and nutrition, is I don't have time for that I don't want to do that. It's a lot of effort. It's a lot of work. And I gotta tell you that living a fulfilling healthy life is a lot of work. I keep saying that, because it's true. And I don't want people to think that it isn't work that is just going to come automatically. Recently, I was at a coaching call. And we were talking about manifesting, right creating the life that you want to have. And one of my members says to me, what's the difference between manifesting, and just magical thinking. And the difference is that if you want to manifest something, you have to have action behind it. You can sit here and daydream all day long about wonderful things you want to have and the impact you want to have on your life and the world. And if you don't put action behind it effort behind it time behind it, it will not happen. So when you think about wanting to get healthier, wanting to feel better, wanting to reduce inflammation, wanting to move your body more, but your mind goes right to, but I don't want to have to do more work, then you got to work on that part of it. Right? We have to learn to accept that living an amazing life takes energy and effort, and you are worth it. I can't think of anything that's more worth it, than having time to connect to people you love. having time to make good food to nourish your body, having time to walk outside and enjoy nature and just really thinking about why don't we pack our schedule, so busy with so many things that aren't meaningful, and then say we don't have time for the things that will really have a big impact on our life. I'm getting so philosophical here, right? Whenever these death anniversaries comes up, that's what I do actually just start thinking about, am I living life the way I want to? And I gotta say, I feel pretty good about it. Yes, I love my life right now. And I am very intentional about continuously trying to overcome by limiting thoughts, you know, any limiting thought whether it comes up around experiences around finances around relationships are constantly working in that zone of discomfort. And what I mean by that is we've got it be able to step out of our comfort zone and try and experience new things and make changes that might meet with a lot of resistance, resistance in our mind resistance, even with loved ones, when I'm coaching people who want to make dietary changes, and their brains like but my kids and but my husband and that's gonna be hard and they're right it is. And it's going to give you the impact of doing hard things, right, that benefit is going to make some significant change, to take your life to the next level. And what's interesting is how it's really just this thought error that when we're in this discomfort of not feeling the way we want to feel or not living the life we want to live or not having the joy we want to have. We tell ourselves making change will be hard in Yeah, that's true, but living like that is also hard. Right? So again, we come back to this concept of a familiar discomfort. So what is it Comfort Zone really, it's familiarity with a discomfort that you know. And when we can recognize that, hey, you know what, I actually am very familiar with being uncomfortable. And so if I can live with familiar discomfort, I could probably live with unfamiliar discomfort, and unfamiliar discomfort might bring better things to my life. So in this month of mental health awareness, in this time for me of a reflection on creating a meaningful life, and just realizing, you know, the temporary state of the life that we're in, I just want to offer you that little tiny

option of a way of thinking of why is this happening, whatever is happening in your life, whether it's dealing with breast cancer diagnosis, or anything else right now. And so why this is happening is what now? What do you want it to look like now? What kind of life do you want to live now? And what power do you have now? To make the changes that you want to make? Right? What now? What could get you to that brass ring of whatever it might be of healing, of happiness, of joy of connection? What steps can you take now? And how can you use the fear that might even come up with that, as motivation to do even more to love yourself better and live your life fuller? And if you would like help and support with that, you can come in find me on the breast cancer recovery coach.com where you can join my thing live coaching membership, you can sign up to do personal sessions with me, and we can even dig into metabolic health coaching, where we leave no stone unturned. When it comes to what can you do now to live your most thriving optimally healthy life ever? Alright, you find all that information on my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com and I will talk to you again very soon take care



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