The Importance of Self-Care and Love in Survivorship

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My cancer survivorship journey has proven to be a difficult one. I recently completed radiation and I am now cancer-free, but the big question is: for how long? I have struggled with scanxiety and chemo brain for the past year. Plus, I decided to take a break from “reality” in order to plan my new way forward.

I sought out virtual counseling as a means of combating my fears. I must say, I thought that I was the only one experiencing these emotions, but I learned over the years that “you are never alone.” Listening and reading other inspirational stories has taught me a lot about self-care and love, something I hadn’t ever really paid much attention to before.

So, my new mission was to seek out ways to take care of myself while still trying to help out others. I have always loved volunteering and I hope that my journey would in turn inspire others to continue the fight to move forward. I went through a whirlpool of emotions, such as sadness, depression, loneliness, and being totally vulnerable; but I knew that giving up was not the answer.

I have learned and experienced new ways to take better care of myself, like having a great spa day, visiting my long-time friends, and just being a good person overall. I decided to take up a new hobby and learned to play a musical instrument. I’m really pausing to enjoy the moment. Simple things such as a beautiful sky or moonlight can put your mind at ease.

I realized that before, over the years, I was never living in the present. I wasn’t able to take a deep breath and appreciate all that was around me. I always planned ahead for the future while constantly remembering the past, but never stayed in the present time. Having to slow down because of my cancer diagnosis has really awakened and developed my inner strength to realize my true potential.

I never thought that I would have completed my cancer treatment and come out of it alive. From planning my funeral in my mind to living a new life was such a shock and shift for me that I needed a lot of time to really think things through. Every day is now a new journey as I wake up to life, not depression or sadness. Not all days are the same, but I have come to terms with my new reality. Survivorship is indeed the strongest part of my cancer journey.

Learning about self-care and love has taught me new ways to cope with life. After Valentine’s Day, I was happy to make other friends and family smile on that special day. I realized that although I was secretly sad, seeing others smile because of me will always be my most rewarding and treasured memories throughout my life…no matters what happens in the future!

By Vikki Ramdass