Pain to Positivity Cancer Realities – When you receive a cancer diagnosis, there are so many emotions that flood over you all at once, including the positivity train. While all of those around you are experiencing their own pain over your news, they start speaking the positive, feel good vibes in an attempt to help the best possible outcome for your diagnosis. We all know choosing to be positive is very helpful, however at the end of the day, cancer is a battle. It is a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns. It is overwhelming in every sense of the word- producing, pain, fear, and more.
Doubt creeps in. It is not always positive 24/7, and why we at Cancer Horizons created Breast Cancer Realities: Pain to Positivity. We are keeping it real, discussing the hurt and the what if’s. Sally, a 3-year cancer survivor may said it best, “I have suffered and I have starved. I will never forget the experience.” Her experience- radiation literally burned her inside and out, resulting in her hair never growing back, something she refers to as “trick-or-treats.” In the end she says, “In the end, you have to choose to live. To let the negative and the bad go.”
People around cancer patients don’t know what to say. Often when something is meant to be nice or uplifting, it may come across differently. Unfortunately, that can be part of the pain and experience of cancer. Protecting yourself is important. “People that were not in my corner cheering me on, I walked away from those,” expressed Sally.
Amy, recent mastectomy patient, had not started chemo prior to this conversation, which led to her feeling, “this was the first time I feel that I have cancer.” Even after surgery, it may not ever feel like anything is really wrong, and the pain and emotions can come in waves, sometimes there is nothing, and sometimes it is everything all at once. “It hasn’t been horrible yet, and I kind of feel bad that it hasn’t been horrible, Amy sobbed.
“You cannot experience cancer without a degree of pain,” were the words spoken by Ginger, “You will not always be positive, if the positive police come into your space, send them out for doughnuts.” Having cancer diagnosis results in having to learn to be gentle with yourself. To know there are ups and downs, and to face the adversity in the best possible way.
When we have rain, the rain allows us to refresh, regrow, and learn to appreciate the rainbow. Cancer is not easy, and we know that. Lydia sheds light on “coping with humor.” There are many that use laughter as their scapegoat to get through hard things, especially illness and pain. Toni, Tai Chi Instructor, reminds us all, “To stay present. Try not to worry about the future. Wherever you are at, whether you are crying or having a good day, be ok with where you are at. There are doubts, and you will go there for a second, ten minutes, or a day, but you have to find your way back to the present, and be ok in that moment.
Emotions are deep, real, and raw for everyone experiencing cancer. Ride the wave by allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel in that moment. Staying positive and letting go of the negative is always easier said than done. Your choice to get what you need is perfect: laugh, cry, dance – do what you need to fill your daily cup.
Watch the full episode of Cancer Horizons Breast Cancer Realities: Pain to Positivity here.