10 Ways to Adapt after Breast Cancer
Becoming the “new you” takes a little forethought
Women adapt to their lives after cancer in wildly unique ways, because everyone is different. One might share her story in great detail at breast cancer support groups, while another turns inward to begin writing poetry. One takes up running to stay physically healthy; anotherswitches careers for her mental recovery.
- Say Thank You. It seems counter-intuitive, but "thank you" is a great place to start. As one survivor explained: "My way to adapt was with a sigh and a thank-you to my medical team. I learned to ask lots of questions, to deal with a day at a time, and to check in with the support group. I also started a gratitude journal. I am now 11 1/2 years from diagnosis and survivor life is GOOD!"
- Make the world a better, kinder, gentler place to live. In other words: Help Others. So many of you become certified mastectomy fitters, support group leaders, patient advocates—this journey can be the catalyst for a life focused on others.
- Turn lemons into lemonade. So, you have a bad day once in a while. Realize that it's normal, and fight to find something of value in it—did you learn something about yourself? About others? Did you make a decision as a result of the negative moment? Then you have gained something—and small gains, like lemonade, are sweet.
- Prioritize. Breast cancer diagnosis helps you know, deep down, exactly what’s important to you. Focus on that. Let the rest—the other things that vie for your attention—fall away, along with any guilt. "Perfection has been tossed out the window," one wise survivor told us.
- Appreciate each day. Over and over, we hear that you adapt by learning to appreciate your days and nights. Simple things like a comfortable breeze. A warm cup of coffee. This is how you stay positive, and is ultimately how you begin to thrive.
- Rely on your family and friends. They want what's best for you, and they want to help. Know that—believe it—and let it comfort you. Ask for help. Your "new normal" will be richer for it.
- Look forward. Don’t look back. One surprising piece of advice we heard? Don’t dwell on cancer. Sure, learn what you need to know, but instead of "why me?" think about what you want to become.
- Diet and Lifestyle. Adapting often begins with changes in how you treat your body. Fueling with whole, healthy foods, and engaging in comfortable movement when you’re able to, sends a signal to your body: This is the new me.
- Have Faith. Nearly all of our tips roll up to this one: have faith. Whether you’re strongly spiritual or just faithful enough to know the sun comes up every morning, your faith in yourself and in possibility is key to adapting. Positive affirmations and prayer/meditation are tools that everyone can access. (Believe us!)
- Take one day at a time. Maybe it doesn’t pay to think too far into the future. Instead, enjoy today. Tomorrow will work itself out. Just remember, as one survivor told us, "Every day that I wake up I've beaten cancer. That's how you adapt, one day at a time."
Every body is different.
That's why we've created the Adapt Light breast form—to hug your body and find your curves. It adjusts and adapts to you!
How have you adapted after breast cancer? We'd love to hear from you! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.