Something I have often done when approaching a problem or setback in life is to find a success story. I like to learn from individuals who have had similar experiences and who have overcome an obstacle in life. I took this approach several years ago when beginning work in the field of addiction counseling. While I changed my lifestyle greatly in college, I could not tell men in recovery from substance abuse what successful recovery might look like, but I could present news stories or bring in guest speakers of other men who have been successful beating their addiction. These men and their stories provided a dialogue as to how one might manage recovery and in some cases ways to stay out of prison by making different choices in life.
I took the approach of finding stories of inspiration when diagnosed with breast cancer and when learning of family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. Frankly, I found it inspiring and motivating to hear about other women having an experience similar to my own and who initially experienced feelings of loss. I learned I was not alone in my feelings and that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. This approach again came in handy when needing to learn about prostate cancer and treatment approaches from a patient and caregiver perspective after my husband and father were diagnosed.
Where can you find stories of inspiration? Fortunately, these days it is easy due to internet support groups, the voices section of CURE, local support groups, news articles, and programs such as HealtheVoices. Any of these platforms help to connect caregivers and patients with updates in news and research, but personal stories are a source of inspiration and help when coping with a chronic illness. I am grateful to individuals who shared their stories before I ever shared mine.
Looking back upon my own healing, I guess you could say I am now paying it forward by sharing my story and helping others newer in the journey of their healing. Part of my healing from breast cancer in 2015 included becoming a registered yoga teacher. I have since become certified in Yoga 4 Cancer and in 2020, I will be leading classes free with the support of private sponsorship. The yoga helps with mind and body healing, but before and during the class there is an open forum for individuals to refer to their cancer and the journey. We don't avoid the "C" word and laugh and cry as needed, but most see the stages of other participants and can find a sense of inspiration from learning what life is like on the other side of treatment or a particular surgery.
Some of my clients have gone on to run races as a goal, travel, or such as myself, share their story to support others. May part of my healing continue to include teaching yoga 4 cancer and in 2020, with funding from Pink Luminous Breast and LympheDivas, the classes will be free in Miami for individuals diagnosed with cancer and cleared by their medical provider to participate. I hope to offer a bit of support and pay it forward for anyone looking for their success story. May you find a story of inspiration or a group that helps you in your healing. You don't need to feel alone in this journey.