Since my mother now has breast cancer, I've been thinking about my own diagnosis lately. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, it was unreal. It was difficult to accept that my body was betraying me by harboring a life-threatening illness because I felt no pain and appeared to be just fine. But losing my left breast made it all too real. I felt denial, anger, anxiety and even grief, which I understand are perfectly normal responses to such a traumatic event. I felt assaulted, first by the cancer, then by the surgery and then by chemotherapy. I also experienced those same feelings one feels after being assaulted: loss of control, fear, and self-doubt (big time). Having breast cancer challenged my self-esteem, my sense of who I was, my self-worth and self-image. I had to adjust to the changes in my body yet recognize that I still possess all the qualities that make me who I am.
I also felt relieved after the surgery since the cancerous tumor was gone, happy to be alive and determined to let go of all the negativity. I am fearful of recurrence, unsure about reconstruction and confident in my survival. I know that all of these feelings and fears are valid. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease forces you to confront your fears about death. We are all mortal; we are all going to die someday. I am finding that the best way to come to terms with my fears about death is to face them, accept them and go on living. That is how "Me" Day came about! Now, I haven't ever been good at taking time for myself and this has taken some effort on my part, but I'm doing it.
On Saturdays, I drop Mike off at the Circle of Friends Day Center and head off to roller derby practice. Once done with practice, I have about 4 hours to myself. I can choose to spend it by myself or with others. Sometimes I take myself to lunch with a good book. Other times I head to the bookstore or the library. One Saturday I went to lunch with my sister and mother before spending the afternoon with a good book. Once, I even went shopping (which I usually find bothersome at the very least). As the weather turns warmer, who knows what I'll be off doing?! Taking time for myself is really about self-care and is an extremely important component to creating the life I want. It is about honoring myself and connecting with myself. Taking care of myself is one of the first steps on the journey of discovering my truth and accessing my creativity. When I take time for myself it allows me to stop doing for awhile and to just BE. It is in the BEing where my power lies. I automatically raise my standards and capabilities and create potential and possibility in my life. When I honor and nurture myself I can hear my inner voice much more clearly - I can hear my own truth and this connection enables me to live authentically. I want a life "well-lived" with no regrets!