Yes, is perhaps the most dynamic three- letter word in the universe. Saying YES to life is what every breast cancer survivor and those around them must do everyday. Breast Cancer can be a wake-up call, screaming to each individual, “there is more to life, get up and live it.” Breast Cancer, in all of its ugliest, can be used as a gift or a curse and the only difference between the two is how you choose to view it. Breast cancer has the power to make you a victim, shaming you by telling you awful, horrible lies like, “See you did this to yourself. Or you deserve this.” It can wield you into a pile of pathetic “why-me?” Or you can tame those voices like Pi tamed Richard Parker in the movie The Life of Pi, and you can focus on co-existing with this life changing diagnosis, called breast cancer. If Breast Cancer has ended up on your life boat, how you view it will make a difference to the quality in your days to come. In order to make that quality a positive focus, here is a simple journal exercise that can help you focus on what is it that you want.
Please answer the following questions. Then rate each question on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being completely true and 1 being completely false.
- Do you know that you are the most powerful resource that you have?
- Do you know that you are really capable of living your life closer to achieving more of what you want than what you don’t want?
- What do you think would have to change to make those two above statements more true than not.
List three things you would like to accomplish as a result to this unexpected and uninvited journey you are taking.
Stop and take a break for a while. Come back to this list in the next hour to twenty-four hours. Circle the one on your list that is the most important to you.
Write it here: “I want to:
By doing the above, my life will be enhanced or changed positively how? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
That is important to me because:(list as many reasons that come to your mind: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What are three steps you need to take to get started accomplishing this important life-changing step?
How are you going to start those above steps?
When are you going to start them?
When will you get there, (set a finish date) creating this important life changing behavior, goal, or accomplishment?
What will you need to stay focused on your journey? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What might get in your way, prevent you or make this accomplishment more difficult than it needs to be?
As a psychologists working with children’s fears, I often have them create a monster stick out of a bat, piece of wood, or even a cane. I have them choose colorful, powerful, and magical pieces of clothe to glue to their stick and use a black magic marker to name the stick. The child practices in session how to use the stick to keep the monsters away, and then at home they keep the stick next to them. If they begin to become afraid they pick up their stick and say some magical words that they created to go with the stick. The child repeats this process until they are ready to lay down and go to sleep. (The night -light can be left on at all times). Perhaps you can create a monster stick to help you with fears that come up with breast cancer? Maybe purchase a beautiful and powerful night-light for your bedroom or bathroom that can remind you that you are keeping the monsters at bay.
During the day time, work on your accomplishment as a way of making a choice to be a warrior or survivor along this journey that you have found yourself on. A journey not of your own choosing, as with Pi, but none the less a journey that must be taken.
Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.