Trigger Warning – Breast Cancer
In hindsight, this past Saturday’s self-care post didn’t feel authentic to me. Authenticity is one of my most treasured values and I felt that I hadn’t honored that value with that post.
Feeling like I wasn’t honoring an important value was a red flag to me. And not how I want to show up here for this community, my clients, my business, or myself.
To show up authentically, to honor that value, I am choosing to share some personal news with you.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a lump in my breast. I saw my doctor and was referred to another doctor for a mammogram. Then I had a biopsy and a few days later I learned that it was cancer.
I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Since then, I’ve been processing my emotions and taking care of my body. But, honestly, I was knocked off balance and did a lot of work to find my balance and learn how to operate in my new reality.
In hopes that my experience serves a purpose, I’m going to share what has helped me, and is helping me, in my process. Everyone’s path and process may be different. Do what serves you.
Lessons learned before, during, and after diagnosis.
Take care of our energy because we need it for healing. It’s important to honor our energetic needs. It’s part of self-care and staying healthy. For the first few days after learning of my diagnosis, my energy was all over the place. I needed to go into hermit mode for a little while. I pulled back on my productivity and gave myself a ton of grace. I honored my need to protect my energy and process my new reality. This helped me manage my energy and prevented me from overextending myself.
Breathwork, grounding practices, and mini meditations. Do what it takes to stay in the moment and grounded. Breathwork can help with anxiety and pain. Grounding practices can help when our anxiety show up. Mini meditations can help when anxiety and overwhelm creep in. I used these techniques at the doctor’s office, while getting all the tests (manual breast exam, mammogram, biopsy, and MRI). I also used them at home when my new reality became overwhelming.
The practices that I have learned on my spiritual path are serving me well. I’m leaning on all of what I’ve learned to help me through this health challenge.
Lessons in the present.
Self-care becomes a priority. Self-care is my highest priority now. I’m taking care to get plenty of rest and sleep. Food is fuel. I’m being mindful of how much energy I’m using and taking care to replenish my reserves. This may sound like a no-brainer but for me, this is a huge improvement.
Meditation is rest and allows our minds, and nervous system, to reset. When meditating our bodies re-calibrate. Our minds review and reorganize. Our bodies get deep relaxation. Our souls get to explore. Meditation allows me to rest, relax, and replenish. I love it so much I can’t imagine life without it.
Relaxing the body helps release emotions. We know that our unprocessed emotions live in our body as tension, pain, and dis-ease. Since learning of my diagnosis, I’ve been doing intentional breathwork and body scans to relax my body, deeply. Which is allowing me to approach the situation in a relaxed way.
Relax and breath through the pain. When pain does arrive, I breath through it and continue to relax my body. It’s helping me manage the pain. A little cannabis helps too. These tools work better for me and my body than medicinal pain relievers.
Mindfulness training helps us stay in the moment and grounded. We know that mindfulness helps us be less reactive and in the moment through meditation. With it, I’m able to stay in the moment and still feel grounded even with all the fear and unknown challenges ahead. Which means I’m understanding and absorbing what is going on, what the doctors say. A great improvement over the old me who would have been consumed by anxiety and fear and unable to hear and absorb what’s going on.
Allowing time to process emotions. The need to feel and process our emotions is vitally important. Meditation can help bring strong emotions to the surface, again making sure that they are processed and not stored in our body.
Another improvement over the old me is recognizing and allowing more time to process my emotions. I feel each emotion as it comes in, I allow the emotion to flow through me, and then I’m able to release them. This again, allows my body to relax and release. I’m allowing the emotions to float by like storm clouds so that my body isn’t storing them as tension and pain. I am witnessing the many emotions that come up, and I am not becoming them.
Every challenge is an opportunity. This mindset allows me to face the challenges and look for the lessons. I’ve come to realize that this is an opportunity to learn more about myself. It’s an opportunity to stretch and grow beyond what I thought was possible for myself. And it’s an opportunity to be authentic with you.
Spiritual awakenings don’t pause for cancer diagnosis. We are always on our path. This doesn’t change for challenges to our physical body. I still see synchronicities. My tarot cards still give me good readings. I’m leaning into my spiritual practices for support.
Don’t go backwards. Don’t allow challenges to take us backwards in our personal growth. We have challenges to use what we have learned, to improve our life experience. I haven’t done all this work, been on this spiritual path, and experience a spiritual awakening to go backwards now.
I have this health challenge now for a reason. I want it to have purpose. I want to be on purpose. I have come too far to go backwards now. I am called to use what I’ve learned to help myself and others cope with their own health challenges.
As of the writing of the post, I have no idea how my treatment will proceed. I do know that I will have surgery and there may be additional treatments after that. None of which is known now.
Lessons going forward.
One day at a time. One step at a time. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by everything. But there is no need to deal with everything all at once. We can take it one day at a time. I’m taking all of this one day at a time, one step at a time.
Give ourselves grace. Do what we can, when we can and no more. Minimize pressure on ourselves. We have enough going on without compounding our own pressure. This is to remind me that I may not be able to show up when I’m fatigued or in pain and that’s okay. I will do what I can do. It’s another way of managing my energy.
The next step for me is a consultation with a breast cancer surgeon. She came highly recommended and I’m looking forward to learning more about the surgery. Once I know the timing and how invasive the surgery will be, I will be able to plan my days.
I don’t know what the next step after surgery will be and that’s okay. It will all unfold in its own divine timing.
I have this community, my clients, my business, and my meditation teacher training. It’s a lot and, at this time, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage it all. There will likely be days that I won’t be able to show up. I will give myself grace and manage my energy in a way that is healthy for me.
My goal is to communicate with you rather than just not show up. I promise that I will let you know when I’m taking some time off.
May my story be of service.
Maybe by sharing my process it serves in some way. I feel called to share my story so that tells me that I can serve the collective in this way.
That said, here’s your reminder to examine your breasts next time you’re in the shower. If you see any changes in your breasts or nipples, contact your doctor. You got this.
To Chilo Barron, my sweet husband, thank you for being with me on another health journey and for picking up my slack around the house.
To Jennifer Castle, thank you for your support, strength, and love.
To Sally Barton, thank you for your perfectly timed call, support, and love.
And for you, if you’ve read this far, I’m grateful for your support.
And for cancer, yes you too, I am grateful for your gift of clarity of purpose. Now get the fuck out of my body.