It’s no surprise that so many women find themselves feeling lost after breast cancer because no one gives us the tools to navigate recovering and surviving breast cancer.
No one tells us how we’ll feel different emotionally and physically. So, we get stuck trying to figure out why we don’t feel normal anymore.
In this episode, I’ll share three tools that you can arm yourself with that will help you get unstuck and move forward with a new, healthier frame of mind.
You can start using these tools today to start changing your life, empowering yourself, and feeling like there’s hope of moving forward to happier, healthier space.
Read Full transcript below:
Hello and welcome
Thank you for listening
Ok, I have two things to share with you today...
The first is an update. In episodes 74 and 75, I talked with Dr. green about sleep hygiene. We talked about sleep apnea and other breathing obstructions that not only affect your sleep but many aspects of your life. Like blood pressure, blood sugar, respiratory conditions, allergies, and weight loss.
Well, Dr. Green suggested that I get a sleep study because I wake up many times during the night tossing and turning, getting a drink of water. I have frequent sore throats, heartburn, and with focused, consistent workouts and a super healthy way of eating, I still struggle to maintain my weight.
So, I told her I would do a study and then whatever things came up, I got busy, this little thing called a pandemic happened. And then a guy that I work out with posted a picture of himself a few weeks into the pandemic, and he looked fantastic. So of course, I messaged him and told him he looked great and asked what he was doing...since we were all on lock down and he told me he got a cpap machine and that combined with the work he was already doing resulted in some awesome weight loss so I was sold.
I went into a lab, I got all hooked up, and I discovered that I have sleep apnea, I have up to 18 apnea events in an hour which means that my oxygen level drops below 90%
I also have neuropathy in my feet and lower legs and the study also revealed that my leg movements wake me up 2 to three times an hour.
I was blown away by this! I couldn’t believe all that was happening every night and I didn’t know it. And my Doctor has ordered a cpap machine for me which I didn’t know existed …. but apparently it can tell ...vs. a cpap.
So, if you listened to those episodes and you think you might benefit from a sleep study, I highly recommend you do it. Just do it...and message me I’d love to hear what you find out. And I will keep you posted on what happens when I start getting proper sleep again.
And the second thing, I’m super excited to share with you.
I have created a new course, called talk about the BCRC
Ok, let's get into this show. Today's show is about the tools you need to recover from breast cancer.
This topic came up as I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is going through a really tough spot in her relationship. This has been going on for a while now and she and her husband have been trying to work on it, but it hasn’t been going great.
As we talked about how they’re going around in circles, I suggested that they get some professional help. Because it’s pretty clear that both she and her husband don’t have the tools or the skills to get past the spot they’re stuck in. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Even when it comes to the way you think and communicate. If you have a certain communication pattern with someone and you have an expectation of how that person will react to what you have to say based on past experience.
Then you either keep going round and round with the same conversation or you just throw your hand in the air and give up because you don’t feel like you can get through to them, right?
And that got me to thinking about how I didn’t have the tools to deal with recovering from breast cancer.
It was so hard because I’d never been through anything like that before. Something that felt like it changed the very core of who I was...at least that was the story I told myself about it.
When it comes to sickness in life before cancer you get sick and then you get better and you go back to feeling the way you used to feel right?
Afterward you can think back on the worst flu you ever had like it was a bad dream, but you don’t still feel the aftereffects.
So, you get cancer and you’re afraid you’re going to die.
Then you go through treatment, whatever that consisted of for you, you realize you’re not going to die but then you don’t get completely better either. I mean your body is forever changed.
But the only thing you know is that you get sick and then you go back to normal.
No one ever taught you how to deal with a situation that doesn’t get us back to where we started right?
Dr. Shelby Terstriep in a 2017 article in Sanford Health said, ‘people want to resume their “old life” their “pre-cancer” life and feel like they should get back to everything they were doing before cancer. What makes it more difficult is that people around you: your boss, coworkers, family, and friends may think this too.
These unrealistic expectations can be VERY stressful on you (which may even steal more of your energy).” she was talking about the struggle with fatigue after breast cancer
But nobody tells us that ahead of time. And I mean we don’t usually read articles about cancer recovery when we’re living a cancer free life. And then when we’re diagnosed, we have bigger things to worry about...like surviving cancer and treatment.
so how do we know that going back to normal isn’t a realistic expectation or how do we know how to deal with it when we finally realize that it isn’t a realistic expectation?
I distinctly remember my oncologist telling me that everything I was going through was only temporary and within 3 to 6 months after chemo I would go back to normal.
I cannot tell you how many times I wondered who the hell told him that’s the way it worked. I have yet to read a study or meet a woman who went back to normal after breast cancer treatment...but I didn’t know it then, so I believed him. And I wanted to believe him.
But with hindsight I can see that thinking that way caused a tremendous amount of frustration for me. Because I was in the gap of what is and what I wanted it to be.
After a few years of struggling to get back to normal I finally stopped focusing on the fight to go backwards and I started working on building the skill set I needed to move forward.
So, in order to help you avoid some of that suffering, I would like to share with you 3 three skills that will help you navigate breast cancer recovery
I’ll share an insight with you.
At the time of this recording I’m taking a group of women through the 3rd week of my revivify coaching program and already they’re having aha moments and realizing that how they think about what is happening to them changes their experience in life.
They’re realizing how being present in life and becoming aware of thoughts that don’t serve you is a game changer.
After my coaching call with them every Saturday I meet with the women who are in my empower program.
These women have completed revivify but want to keep moving forward with transforming their lives.
And I see the transformation in them since they first joined me in revivify and it’s so impressive. I’m so frigging proud of them.
But here’s the thing. These women, the ones who really experience change are taking action.
They’re not just thinking about creating change in their lives. But they’re doing the journaling, they’re doing the thought work, they’re showing up for coaching, they’re making the time for self-care. And that’s why they’re getting results.
There’s a famous quote by Amelia Earhart.
She said “The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity” and I agree with that to some extent. But I’m more a fan of the old riddle that says, five frogs are sitting on a log and 4 decide to jump off...how many are left…..the answer is five frogs are still on the log because making a decision to act is not the same as taking action. Just like thinking about working out is not the same as working out. Planning or prepping your meals is not the same as eating the meals you planned. You get what I’m saying right? “the decision to act is a step, but taking action is what creates change.”
It’s like when you read a book or take a course and you learn something and you love what you discovered but unless you implement it in your life you won’t experience real change.
So, an important part of recovery is taking action on changing the way you think and the story you’re telling yourself about what happened to you. And if you try something and it’s not working for you. It’s not creating the result you want in your life, then you try something else and you keep taking action until you get what you’re after.
If this is you, I’m going to give you a tough question to chew on, and it may piss you off...that’s ok. It used to piss me off too. But what if this is as good as it gets? What if the pain you’re in or the fatigue you’re dealing with is just the way it's going to be for you?
Now, it probably isn’t, and time will make it better. Your body has an amazing ability to heal. But you’re here today and I want you to consider that this is as good as it gets.
So rather than fight where you are now. Rather than resist and withdraw, how can you think differently so you can manage where you’re at right now in your life and still find happiness and connection?
If you want to have power over your health and your life. You must get to the point where you can accept where you are. This is the point you move forward from. And forward is the key word. I was listening to a coaching call with my own coach the other day and she was helping someone with her mindset around weight loss. The woman said, I’m almost at the weight I was in high school and my coach asked her why did you just connect your future goal to your past? Why would you want to be a previous version of you when you can be the best future version of yourself.
And I loved that. The past is behind us my friends and we must accept where we are now and be forward thinking...always moving forward.
When you truly understand that your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings drive your actions and your atoms create the results in your life…. you’ve developed a skill that can change everything.
When I first heard this model from my own coach, Brooke Castillo I had to give it a try. I wrote out thoughts and feelings and results over and over and every time I did it I realized that this is a universal truth.
Think about this...if you tell yourself with your thoughts that you aren’t sexy because you had one or both breast removed and you feel self-conscious because of that thought, you will act in a certain way.. You may dress in baggier clothes or withdraw from social or romantic situations and this will have specific results like being alone more frequently or creating distance in your relationships.
But if you wanted to have closer relationships and I asked you how you would have to think differently to make that happen...you would be on the road to change.
Because physical suffering can be so front and center after breast cancer treatment, it’s really easy to get caught focusing on the problem, the pain, the fatigue, the self-image.
I did that for the longest time before a coach pointed out to me that I had lost sight of finding a solution because I was so focused on the problem.
And then I had to accept where I was so I could take action and work on those thoughts that were keeping me stuck and frustrated and angry.
And I was really angry. But I've since realized that throwing anger at cancer only takes more of your power away.
Accepting where you’re at, then taking an honest look at how your thoughts are keeping you wherever you are, puts you back in charge and gives you the power to take action to create change.
So, in summary, three of the most useful tools you have when you’re recovering from breast cancer are
Taking action...actually implementing and practicing change in your life
Acceptance...starting from where you are now as if today is as good as it gets but you’re going to find a way to be happy and engaged anyway.
Change your thoughts. Look at how you’re thinking causes the way you feel and how you feel motivates the actions on YouTube and the results you are experiencing in your life.
Alright love. I hope that helps you and if you want more support you can enroll in the breast cancer recovery course, you can come to Facebook and join the breast cancer recovery group where hundreds of survivors come together to support and encourage each other to live empowered lives after breast cancer