I was diagnosed with stage IIIc inflammatory breast cancer at age 46. Little did I know that the world I knew from that point would forever be gone. My oncologist labeled this the “new normal” in response to my realization that nothing was going back to the way it was.
After diagnosis my life become intwined with a revolving door of medical professionals such as nurses, oncologists, radiologists, scan technicians, surgeons, physiotherapists, lab technicians, prosthetic technicians, pharmacists, general medicine doctors, care aides and medical office receptionists. I naively thought that once treatment was over that I would be done with them all. Not so – I continue to have multiple scans per year, blood draws and visit specialists.
The toll of cancer treatment, chemotherapy in particular, also impacted my mental health to the point that I did not see the point of living if I only had a few years. This downward spiral of my mental health was compounded by the overwhelming changes that were happening to my body and my life. I needed mental, emotional and spiritual help to recreate myself and a life worth living.
My diagnosis was my wake-up call - it redefined everything about me; what I eat and drink; who I associate with; how I imbue meaning for what is important; where I choose to invest my time and energy. Cancer is very expensive. Not only for us as tax payers but also personally.
April is Cancer awareness month. Take some time this month and review the risk factors for cancer and reduce your risk. Incorporate some extra sensitivity to those around you. Chances are the people around you are likely coping with a cancer scare, diagnosed, caring for someone, or mourning the loss of someone they loved who died from cancer.
Romy Pritchard, BA BFA RLHC (Registered and Licensed Health Coach)
Renewed Health Coaching
"Change made easy."