Celebrate your Survivorship

Honestly speaking I hate to start the word Cancer with a capitalized ‘C’ but language rules do not accept this. There are places where it cannot be avoided or manipulated. Cancer is a life changing event for most of the survivors and their images (43)family members. Marking milestones can help analyze this experience and recognizing them will help recognize the impact that the disease and surviving the battle have had on you life. 

A cancer survivor is a person who has successfully fought cancer and got back to the normal life after his treatment. On observing around yourself, you will observe that survivors, winners  are present in your family, at office and your locality. It is indeed a big achievement to survive cancer and it is even a better achievement when you can get back to your normal life post the treatment. It definitely requires a lot of mental and physical strength to survive cancer. Not all can successfully deal with cancer and survive it too.  However, in spite of all these challenges patients and their families are able to deal with the disease and the treatment and emerge as winners.

Marking milestones during and after cancer treatment can be done in a variety of ways. Some people find it meaningful to recognize the one-year and five-year cancer-free milestones. Other milestones and anniversary dates can be marked, as well, such as the end of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the date of your cancer diagnosis, the anniversary of surgery to treat your cancer, or each follow-up visit.

Be ready for some emotions

These dates and milestones may trigger a variety of emotions. Relief and joy are positive emotions while fear and anxiety are negative emotions that a patient and his family may feel. Taking time to recognize anniversary dates and prepare yourself for them can help you sort through these emotions and reflect on your experience. This would also help you reflect on the distance that you have traveled since the word cancer stepped in your life for the first time.  Let us brainstorm some ideas for celebrating survivorship.

How can survivorship be celebrated ?

Once you get in the celebration mode, all the pain and anguish will seem minuscule. Let us put together some ideas and help find out one that appeals you.

  • Take time to reflect.

Just walk into a coffee shop and sit for some while. Take a walk on the beach and reflect on the experiences that you have gone through. While some people may like to do this alone, others may like to do it with a close friend or companion. If you maintained a journal during treatment and browse through the same. The present day is itself a milestone, do not forget to make the latest entry about how you feel.

  • Thank the almighty

You must also ensure that you thank god for the miracle in your life. This will make you feel grateful to the  all mighty and will also give you the strength to deal with the after affects of the treatment. It will also ensure that you get back to your normal life faster and in a more effective way. Seeking god’s blessing can really help people to deal with the cancer after affects even more.

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  • Thank your family and friends

Another option that is available for you is to celebrate your survivorship is share your achievement with your friends and family. When you do so you will see that it makes you happy. Your well wishers will feel happy for you as a result you will see a positive development in your health.  Spend quality time with your family and friends. This can be a great way to unwind from the physical and mental strain that the cancer treatment may cause you. Do not forget they were as distressed as you are during the treatment.

  • Donate, plan some charity

Some can also look at charity options and visit cancer hospitals. When you have survived the disease you can understand the pain that others go through even better. This will help you empathize with other patients and also inspire them to fight with the disease.

  • Go see the world

Look at a milestone as an opportunity to unwind. During cancer treatment you are required to live a very restricted life as you are physically very weak. This is exactly why when you are done with the treatment you can look forward to travelling and seeing the world. Plan a holiday, depending on your physical energies it could also be an adventure trip also.

In addition to these you could go for a haircut, a relaxing massage, some shopping, dinner with your partner or write a blog. The idea is to celebrate what is good in your life and realize that you have traveled successfully a long distance.

My personal experience

imagesAs I have mentioned that be ready for some emotions. You can choose what you like facing your emotions or ignoring them. Every one person has a different way of handling their ordeals.

The year I was diagnosed with BC in 2011, we were planning for a trek to the holy towns of Kedarnath and Badrinath and by God’s grace we were able to undertake it this year in 2013. It was a challenge that required me to be mentally, physically and emotionally very strong. During the course of my treatment I wanted to rush to Rishikesh, the banks of the mighty Ganges. The vision of the Ganges inspired me to get through the treatment. I do not have words to explain how I felt when I put my feet in Rishikesh this year.

The whole idea is to reward yourself with something that you like, with something that you cherish.  It is an opportunity to celebrate your hard work and the fact that you are a cancer survivor and do it the way that makes you happy. Appreciate the brightness and the goodness that is there in your life. Life is worth it!!