The day I found a lump
It was a moment that I will never forget. It was 2010, and I was at home on a Sunday morning. I just stood there motionless for a moment, the questions and fears stacking up inside my head. Is that a lump in my breast? Never would I have thought that I would develop cancer at such a young age.
When the doctor shared the test results and used the dreaded C-word, I was absolutely terrified. After all, life changes in a flash with the diagnosis of any serious illness. I really thought I might die.
Over the next 10 months I underwent 3 surgeries, 6 rounds of chemo, and 7 weeks of radiation.
No guarantees, only unknowns. The treatment journey was full of surprises and felt unbearable at times. Loosing my hair, my eyelashes and my eyebrows was unreal. I felt so incredibly tired and weak. I barely recognized my own reflection in the mirror. This must be what it feels like to be 80 years old, I thought.
In the end, it was a tough journey but also a beautiful one. The love and support that flooded my way was deeply humbling and strengthening. It gave me a chance of seeing life with the eyes of a child again. All of a sudden the life that you took for granted is exciting again, and the smallest things have so much more meaning.
If you, or someone you know, has just received a cancer diagnosis, the first step is to take a deep breath and ask for help. We are fortunate to have a robust network of medical and holistic treatments available now, and with the aid of a well-trained medical team, there is a long list of steps that you can take for yourself or your loved one to aid their healing journey. Help is available and you are not alone!
The second step is to remove as much stress from your lifestyle as possible. Find ways to connect with nature, add daily relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation to your routine. Pause for a few deep breaths whenever you start to feel stress or fear creeping into your mind. Day-by-day, and sometimes just minute-by-minute, you’ll find strength you didn’t know you had to get through this.
The third step is to stay focused on the positive moment. It may be hard to see at the beginning, but looking back now I am grateful for this experience. Surviving cancer, changed me and my life for the better, in so many ways. I am less critical of myself today than I was, and I have learned the importance of self-care and self-love. I can say that I really like myself more today than before I had cancer. And with that change in attitude, things started to change around me for the better. My life started to thrive in a whole new way.
Today Carina Tannenberg works to bring unique BON acupressure and aromatherapy products to the market so that people at all stages of their personal health journeys have access to self-healing treatments.