Dana Stewart was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 32. She is the co-founder of a cancer survivorship organization called The Dragonfly Angel Society. She volunteers as an advocate and mentor, focusing on young adults surviving cancer. She enjoys writing about life as a cancer survivor, as well as connecting survivors to the resources, inspirations and stories that have helped her continue to live her best life, available at www.dragonflyangelsociety.com.
There are plenty of things to talk about that can keep your mind from the fears and concerns that hover around cancer.
Well, it doesn’t have to be nothing — there is always stuff to talk about. I was thinking more along the lines of let’s talk about nothing that has to do with cancer. Who likes that idea? I have to admit, I think about cancer far too much and way more than I know is healthy. I’ve been pretty open over the years about my terrible fears and anxiety I have about cancer coming back. For a while, it completely consumed my life and I had to get professional help in order to cope. It was one of the darkest times in my life and it almost rivaled the year I fought cancer...almost, but not quite.
It bothers me that cancer still crosses my mind daily. It’s that annoying person that refuses to stop talking to you no matter how many hints you give. So, I try to force myself to think of anything else. It gives me happiness when I notice my mind wander to the “nothings” of the day. The nothings of the day are my favorite thoughts because finding them means I am moving past my cancer fears, if only for a minute, an hour or a day. That means I beat the cancer fears for that point in time, and I will take each and every victory.
Let’s talk about nothing. I’ll even help you. Here is a list of ways to get yourself out from under those non-stop cancer thoughts. Here some of my favorite categories of nothing.
1. Favorite spot (place in your house, vacation spot, place you want to visit, etc.) — for me this is a beach scene. I love sitting on the beach watching the water and listening as it moves back and forth across the sand. I jump to this spot in my mind when I want to go to a nice calm place, even in the middle of traffic, on a winter day, or when the cancer thoughts are taking over my mind.
2. Pets/Animals — My two goofball cats always bring a smile to face. I picture them running around, chasing toys (yes, they do this so they may actually be dogs in disguise), and I laugh. There is no room in my mind for cancer thoughts when I am laughing about my cats.
3. TV Shows — Watching them is a distraction, but thinking about them works just as well. If you haven’t guessed with all my talk about nothing, my favorite TV show is Seinfeld. The whole show is based on nothing and I love to laugh at every line spoken in those episodes. Did I mention my cats are named Jerry and Kramer? Yes, I love the show. Cancer thoughts can’t compete when I am laughing at a good Seinfeld rerun.
4. Fiction Books — Every time I read a good fiction tale, my thoughts are literally about nothing except the story I just escaped into. Any book that can pull me in as if I am living within it, is a winner to me. For every chemo session, I had a good book and it made all the difference. I got to escape the cancer because none of the words in that book spoke of it. The story took me in all new directions.
5. Shopping/Stores — I am not saying go spend money every time a cancer thought pops into your mind. I’d be beyond broke. However, what is wrong with a little window shopping? Take a drive to a local mall or shopping center and do a little window shopping. See what’s out there and what is trending. You might find a few good buys while pushing the cancer thoughts out of your mind.
OK, and let’s be clear, these topics are not nothing, but they are great places to go to get your mind thinking less about cancer and more about, say, nothing in particular? They are all nice vacations from the cancer fears and these so-called nothing thoughts? Well cancer can’t touch them. That’s the best part.