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Making Resolutions After Cancer

on January 09, 2018
When faced with the gift of a clean slate in 2018 and knowing a year from now, I’ll be so much better off if I start today, here’s my list of resolutions that help carry me to my next cancerversary. When you’ve peered over the edge of the abyss, danced with your own mortality, and somehow managed to survive, there’s an ever-present feeling that you owe it to your body and yourself to do the work to stay alive. Here are the ways I want to support myself in staying on the path of wellness in 2018.

1. Water. Just drink more of it and whenever I feel like I’ve overindulged in anything, down a full glass to help my liver and digestive system process whatever the offending substance is. I owe a debt of gratitude to my body for all it did to flush chemo through my system and kick cancer out. When in doubt, water it out.

2. Counter negative body image thoughts that flit into my consciousness with an immediate reminder that I’ll take a body that moves and breathes with some soft fleshy bits over cancer pinning me down in a sick bed any day of the week. Perspective matters. Thoughts matter. I am enough. This is just a skin envelope for the far more important me within.

3. Move every day. If walking the dog is all I have time for, then I’ll do it with purpose. If I’m lucky enough to get a real workout in, I’m going hard. Working up a sweat is how I will regularly shed the build up of toxic stress that is an unavoidable by-product of modern life. I can’t avoid it because momma has bills to pay and teens to raise, but I know exercise counteracts it. I do not have the luxury to give cancer a foothold to grow back. See ya, stress, hello sweat!

4. Food is medicine, and what I put in my body can either feed cancer cells or repel them. Less sugar, more cruciferous veggies. Healthy whole food cooking for a family can feel like another full time job. I will give myself a lot of grace in this department. Maybe this is the year I try meal delivery prep packs. Grab and go premade from a healthy deli section is ok. Teens can be taught to start dinner. Food is love and family dinner time is essential.

5. Relationships define us because who we spend time with is who we become. I hereby commit to being very choosy with my heart in 2018, having just survived the sudden and unexpected end to a three year long, post cancer/post divorce relationship a few days before Christmas. It is critical that I spend lots of time with the most important person in my life…myself. I’m so excited to hang out with you, Cary, I have missed you terribly!!

6. Mindfulness matters. Studies have shown that an essential component to surviving cancer is having a spiritual practice that takes you outside of time, outside of yourself. Some find it by putting their trust in a power higher than themselves. I find inner peace, a sense of well-being, and a greater ability to cope by spending time in nature and practicing yoga. More hikes and more shavasana for me, body, mind and spirit harmoniously aligned.

7. Practice gratitude. Despite my best efforts, I probably won’t fill out a daily journal next to my bed, listing all that I have to be thankful for. But I will endeavor to wake up every morning and have my first thought be…thank you for this day, another chance to try to get it right.

Seven resolutions is enough. I’ve got water to drink, a mirror to kiss, a dog to walk, breakfast to enjoy, solitude to relish, yoga to practice, and YOU in my Handful community to thank for reminding me how grateful I am to still be here. 2018 is shaping up to be the best year ever, and I'll be living it in the best bra ever, one that helps me live as a breast free, double mastectomy, no reconstruction 11 year breast cancer SURVIVOR!