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Staying Grounded with Cancer

Article

Here are a few ways I stay grounded throughout cancer.

My inner grounded core is a full gumball machine — those colorful ones with tasty gumballs filled to the brim ready for a coin. When cancer hit, I lost the feeling of feeling grounded.

Picture this: the glass breaks, gumballs scatter everywhere and glass shards flying, colors of balls rolling around on the floors of life aimlessly. It might be called “losing our marbles,”“finding our bearings,”“shaking the dirt off,” or “hitting rock bottom and digging our way out.”Whatever we call it, I have found a strong challenge in staying grounded with stage 4 breast cancer throughout my five-year warriorhood.

My first instance of having the rug pulled out under from me was when I was first diagnosed in 2018. It felt scary and chaotic. I leaned on my support systems social networks and my Team Sunshine. In the past year, I have found myself practicing staying grounded even more often. Every chance I get on a warm sunny day, I take my bare feet and put them on the green grass to keep me feeling alive and grateful. Every cold snowy day, I find the moment to feel snow on my face and take in the cold sensation.

Lately, in winter, I have found it extremely challenging with my ever-changing treatments and side effects to stay as grounded as I have been. Mental health is extremely important as a part of self-care for managing side effects as well as scanxiety for upcoming scans or future decisions about upcoming treatment. Part of staying grounded for me is prioritizing self-advocacy and my concerns for my health.

Two months ago, I started Enhertu, and one of the side effects was a 10% chance of catching a lung infection that acts like pneumonia. Well, I’m now part of that 10% and I caught it, which meant I had to stop Enhertu, and focus on two things: getting over said lung problem and finding a new treatment with my oncologists. Unfortunately, the consequences of both actions left me feeling like my gumballs were all over the floor again.

In the past two weeks, I’ve started some new grounding activities to collect my gumballs again, and needless to say it’s a work in progress. First, I shower, make the bedand dress and put on a little makeup and jewelry to look presentable for working from home. I am prioritizing self-care, despite not wanting to make the effort, I still do.

I’ve also been making it a priority to take my lunch hour breaks (something I am bad at —it’s so easy to work through lunch at home!) and walk our dogs. The exercise has helped them and has helped me feel the sun on my face, wind on my skin and know that I made this change for me, and them. Also, I work on setting a limit on stress and finding a way to stop some of the madness to be present for real energy. For instance, hubby and I have a no phones rule after 6pm so we can spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.

Lately, with all my speed bumps of my cancer lows, it feels like I cling on to my life raft some days, searching for more grounding strategies. Mostly, I try to awaken my five senses to remind me that I’m alive, and that life is still going on outside of cancer. My favorite comfort is warming a blanket in the dryer and wrapping it around myself, to feel warmth, a hug and sunshine on days where I cannot feel light.

It can be hard to remember life without cancer because cancer is so good at robbing us of that memory of pre-cancer life (at least for me). However, knowing that I continue to prioritize my self-care, self-advocacy, and stay connected to my support systems and Team Sunshine has helped me stay grounded in the past few weeks of chaos.

May March bring a grounded spirit, head to the skies, soul centering and less chaos of cancer.

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