Since the day I started cancer treatment, I have been eager to get back to the life I had once before. Initially, I pushed myself hard to form good eating and exercise habits. After a year of pushing myself, I started to feel exhausted. The treatment, the side effects, and everyday life began to kick the shit out of me. Then my mother passed, and the worst pain I could ever imagine hit me – grief. It felt like a dream that I had, stuck on the railroad track and unable to get free, then boom, a train hits you and rips you apart. I had been through so much grief at this point for myself that at this point I just felt numb. I didn’t care if I ate, what I ate, and if I was active. I just curled up in bed and binged watched whatever Netflix series had more than 15 episodes. For the most part, Netflix was watching me.
Imagine having to go to your mother’s funeral on a Saturday, get on a plane on Sunday, go to treatment on Monday and then work on Tuesday. That was my reality. I received no break to process what I was going through or what I was feeling. I just knew that I didn’t want to continue to live my life like this. I knew that I needed more balance and time to process everything I had been through. I also realized that I had to decide to prioritize my well-being.
No one can prepare you for grief; losing a parent is tough. Grief comes in waves, and you have no control over it. Since I was away from my family, I felt very alone and isolated. I decided to seek help, so I attended a grief share group in my neighborhood. It was not easy, but it allowed me to see that other people were going through it. After I attended, I could share those resources with my family, and my step-father also participated in a meeting. In the end, I decided to work through my grief with therapy. I will admit that this was a significant first step in the right direction.
After getting a better handle on my grief, it allowed me to jump back into my life. Although I am not 100% where I want to be, I am taking baby steps in the right direction. I used to be very hard on myself at the beginning of the year, but I realized that I had to give myself grace and be much kinder. I am re-learning how to live my life, and my body is recovering from over two years of harsh cancer treatment. As I take the steps and move toward life, I want I am learning to be patient with myself. I know that I will eventually get to where I need to be with a little bit of grace. I want to leave you with a few tips that have helped me to get back on track to form healthy habits.
Tips to help get back on track:
- Take your time
- You can restart any habit at any second
- Get an accountability partner
- Be honest with people and ask for help
- Make room for rest
- Set healthy boundaries
- Set short-term goals that will get you to your long-term goals