It’s been almost three years since my cancer diagnosis and I still count the time based on the length of my hair. There is something satisfying about visually tracking the steps away from that catastrophic event in my life. It’s more than just the appearance of my hair thought, it’s what every inch of growth represents. The growth of my hair is evidence that life goes on after difficult times and that I am able to thrive after cancer.
While in the middle of dark times it can be hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. In fact I can remember vivid moments during chemo, reeling with nausea, sobbing and struggling to find hope for even a glimmer of relief never mind thoughts of a life beyond cancer.
As the end of active treatment approached, I was fearful for what my life would hold and was hesitant to make plans for fear of my own mortality. Cancer controlled my every thought, decision and feeling. It was hard to escape the cloud of fear and despair that overwhelmed me.
It was around that time that I decided to seek help. While I knew that sadness and fear of recurrence were normal emotions for cancer patients/survivors, I saw the feelings beginning to control my life in ways I was scared off. I began to withdraw and knew I needed a professional to help me navigate this new world of life after cancer. The therapist I saw helped me confront my fears and accept that cancer would be a part of my life for a long time. She also helped me see that I also deserved to rebuild a life filled with joy and happiness.
When Will Cancer Take a Backseat?
I will never forget the way she described the transition to me. Little by little the cancer will move from the front seat, controlling every decision, to the backseat and eventually into the rear-view. At the time, It was hard to be patience and maintain hope for that “someday” backseat view.
I can tell you now from the other side, that the time will come eventually. The funny thing is it’s not some magical moment when life suddenly changes. Instead, it happens gradually over time. One day you’ll wake up and realize that you weren’t afraid for a few days in a row. Maybe you experienced joy of some kind so intensely that is pushed cancer completely out of your mind or you made a decision without thinking about your pre-existing condition. Little by little cancer begins to hold less weight in your life and you begin to define yourself by the other important parts of your being.
Creating a Space Filled with Hope
While my blog is filled with many posts specifically related to treatment, and surgery and the life in the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis, I also want to be sure to fill it with post like this. The fodder for hope for those just starting their journey or in the middle of a dark time. During my darkest moments, I looked to those women who had gone before me, those out living life, embracing their health and cultivating joy. Those women brought me hope and inspiration.
By living my life to the fullest now, finding joy beyond cancer and defining myself by my passions, my creativity and my interests, I bring you hope for a life beyond cancer. No matter how bad things may seem in this moment, never give up hope. I promise a beautiful life filled with new challenges and joy is waiting for you on the other side of your darkness.
If you want to see my physical transformation throughout this emotional shift, head to the Hair Growth Timeline or check out my Post-Chemo Hair Growth Tips & Tricks. As always I love to hear your stories and experiences. Let’s connect on social media or shoot me an email.