You Can Conquer It! My Summer Battle with Cancer
What a summer! While most people were planning summer vacations and looking for new places to explore, I was planning doctor visits, trips to the infusion center and surgery dates. No, this is not the way I had planned for my summer to go, but nonetheless, it is the way that it went.
I often remind my clients that change is inevitable. As we continue to navigate this journey of life, change is coming around the corner. Some times they are subtle changes that barely make an impact on our lives. In other cases, change is as subtle as a fire truck that is rushing down the road with flashing lights, sirens blazing, and horns blowing while making its way to its destination. Major change requires a bit more patience, endurance, and resiliency.
At the start of the summer, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Say what?? Those words shook my world. So many thoughts ran through my mind when I heard the diagnosis. But the main two were: Is my daughter going to be all right? Am I going to die soon?
Initially, I tried to make sense of it all. With thoughts like breast cancer does not run in my family. This can’t be, I am the youngest of the four. I began to debate with myself as if cancer discriminated against me because of my age and genetics.
Where there are some situations that can be planned for or even made sense out of, this was not one of them. However, I want to share a few lessons that I learned early on in my journey that helped me get through this season.
Advocate for yourself. This is crucial. As I shared in the attached video. My doctor dismissed the lump for normal change in breast tissue because of my cycle. Had I not gone with what my intuition and had I trusted her medical expertise, I would have possibly gone months maybe even years before getting treated.
Because I knew my body, I knew that something was not right. With any impending situation, if there is any level of uncertainty, advocate for yourself! It is safer to be certain and wrong than uncertain and right. Place your health at the forefront when making decisions on how you would like to move forward.
Embrace the season that you are in. I found that once I embraced the journey it became easier. Instead of focusing on the why, I spent time focusing on ways to stay healthy and active as I went through chemotherapy. I also set a schedule that was realistic for me. As a business owner, I wanted to maintain my clients with excellence. So I adjusted to a schedule that would allow me to serve them best and also care for myself. By doing so, I was able to create balance.
This took both patience and endurance. I knew that I would need downtime to recoup from the chemotherapy. However, I also knew that there would be times where I did not want to get up. I constantly reminded myself that it is just a season, temporary and brief.
Focus on the tasks and items that are within your control and push through the season with grit and resiliency. And remember to be kind to yourself on those days where things are not going according to plan.
Understand what this season means to you. Before I shared with the world, I needed to understand what this diagnosis meant to me. People mean well, but early on, I found it difficult when people shared their stories with me because many times, it was in a negative light.
I recognize that this disease touches the homes of so many families. Also, the severity of the disease has riddled so many lives. I am not trying to disregard that. People’s stories are real and raw. However, one can only listen to so many stories with tragic endings before it begins to affect them.
If there is a point where others’ stories are inundating you, remind yourself that this is your journey. Understand that your story may be similar, but it is not the same. Choose to tell it how you would like for it to be retold. By understanding your season, you are able to define what it means before the world defines it for you.
Change is inevitable. Regardless of what type of package it comes in, these simple tips can help you endure. Advocate. Embrace. Understand.
So, yes, I chose to boldly sport my new bald look and big hoop earrings without the need to explain why I did it or what I did it for. Here’s why, I chose not to allow this diagnosis to define me, but I would define it. I can only hope that people see the strength in my journey and not the disease itself. There were moments where I felt like giving up…but instead, I chose to conquer it! Remember, you can conquer it!
About the Author
Angela Garmon, with ARG Coaching and Consulting Group, works with leaders, who are overwhelmed and frustrated with changes in their organizations. These leaders want to bring their team together and produce results. Connect with us to discuss some viable solutions to move your team closer to their goals firstname.lastname@example.org.