Since that date she’s completed many weeks of treatment (and the corresponding side effects). She’s completed physical therapy to re-learn how to speak and swallow. She’s currently considered in remission.
|Me and my mom, having fun at chemo!|
When I told my mom I was writing something about coping with a love one's cancer diagnoses, she commented, “Yeah, you know, you took that pretty hard”. I wasn’t really sure what to think about that. Pretty hard? YOU HAD CANCER!!! OF COURSE IT WAS HARD!!!! WHAT DO YOU EVEN MEAN?!
But she was right (of course). I did take it pretty hard. Certainly, that is a natural reaction, a fully human response. I had already been struggling to balance full time work with part-time graduate school, and then after her diagnosis I felt like I was coming apart at the seams.
Hearing the news that someone you love (a parent, significant other, anyone) has been diagnosed with cancer can be life changing. Today I am going to share some of the things that got me through it.
1. Take care of yourself.
I knoooow. Go ahead and roll your eyes. This is what you hear all over the place. “Take Care of Yourself”. What does this even mean?! you may be asking yourself. It means many things.
It means it’s ok to not be strong. I know you want to be strong for your loved one, and that is awesome. Seriously, awesome. They need a lot of support. However, being strong for them means you are going to need extra support yourself. Whatever you do that helps you feel grounded and centered, crank it up. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually. Before my mom was diagnosed I could skip a week’s worth of exercise or “Michelle time” without too much damage if I picked it back up the next week; after she was diagnosed I needed to be extra intentional about scheduling those activities for myself. Working in an office and going to grad school online meant I did not have a lot of movement in my regular routine; giving myself intense physical activity (whether it was yoga class on Saturday or going to the gym before work) was amazing as an outlet for stress and worry. Keeping in contact with my closest friends and taking time for myself were also part of my magic combo; feel free to find yours. Balance is going to be key in this area.