Reinventing Yourself after Cancer

A cancer diagnosis changes everything. What you did before cancer may not be possible after you finish your treatments or you might find that you no longer want to do what you used to do. I find myself in the latter position. As much as I loved owning my own nostalgic candy store, the amount of time, effort and stress involved in keeping my retail business going, was simply too much to maintain. I have realized that I need to limit my stress levels wherever possible and focus on work that will be enjoyable and inspiring. I need to reinvent myself...that is definitely easier said than done.

What does your reinvention look like? Who do you want to be? What is your passion? How many hours a week do you want or need to work? Can you find a job close to home that cuts down on commute times? Are you willing to just go back to what you were doing before? You need to take time to ask yourself what you want your life to look like.  Yes, you could just go back to the way things were...but, we both know your life is forever changed. You can use that to your advantage if you are willing to sit quietly and actually listen to yourself. You could go back to school and go into a completely different field. This is the time to do what you want to do.

I have noticed that a lot of people I know are over the fact that I had cancer. They have moved on and think that I should too. It's not that they are not being understanding, but I survived, and I am currently "No evidence of cancer," so I should put it behind me. I wish I could just go back to the way things were, but pretending that my body has not changed physically and pretending that my mind and heart are not changed too, doesn't seem wise. I am the same Holly I was before, but I like to think in some ways I am improved.

I am no longer willing to kill myself for a buck and don't think a 50-60 hour work week is feasible anymore physically or mentally for me. It's amazing to me now, how much we expect of ourselves and others in this society. I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I did. I promised myself I would not over schedule my life. It's amazing the amount of hours that are dedicated to being a Wife, Mother to a teenager, managing our finances and household, donating my time to several organizations, writing a blog and writing a book about the last year of my life...and now I need to get a job too! 

I am in the process of my reinvention. I thought it would happen overnight, but now I see that it is going to take time and patience to plan out the next phase of my life as a breast cancer survivor. As my friend Ron told me early on in my diagnosis, "Be Gentle with Yourself." I am trying and you should too. Happy New Year! Here is to our reinvention!

Next week's Blog: Planning Your Bucket List