Saturday, August 29, 2009

Indulge Your Passions and Creativity--Now

Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had lots of plans. I had planned to return to my ballroom dancing classes that I stopped taking in 2004 when I broke up with my then dancing-fanatic boyfriend. I had intended to take another series of cooking classes like the ones I so enjoyed at Greenwich continuing education back in 1997. I had talked about joining a writers' group. I dreamed of taking a Meditteranean cruise.

Then the reality of my breast cancer treatment thrust me into a world of endless MRI, CAT and PET scans, doctor's appointments and chemotherapy sessions. The daunting treatment schedule left me with just enough energy to drag myself to work Monday through Friday. Since I was often nauseous and tired, my life was stripped down to the basic essentials of just getting by. And sometimes even that was too much to handle.

That's when I missed feeling normal again. I remembered fondly those Saturday nights at The Terrace Dance Club perfecting the rhumba with my old flame or spending a leisurely Sunday creating a luscious meal for family and friends. I knew I had to get out of that self-pity funk, so I searched for any respite to forget about my aches and pains. I just wanted to be distracted by laughting and doing something I love.

On bad days, I took to watching my favorite movies. I read books that sat on my bookshelf for years. I committed to journal writing and recorded the daily sojourns of by cancer battle. I rediscovered the calming effects of needlepoint and made a pillow. Everything lightened up when I made a point to do one act of creativity or take time out for one enjoyable activity everyday. When I did that, I knew there would always be a bright point in the day, and I would not be able to look at the future with nothing to look forward to.

Of course I had my limitations. I couldn't go to my Lotte Berke exercise classes two times a week anymore. I couldn't keep the house as clean. But I refused to feel bad about not being to handle my usual responsibilities. I had breast cancer, and that was the perfect excuse to become a princess for awhile. As Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips noted, I earned the Platinum Club Cancer Card, and as a woman who loves to spend, you can bet I to pulled out that carn whenever the moment was right. I'll talk to you about that another day.

Just remember, while your battling breast cancer, treat yourself to something fun everyday--return to doing the things you love.


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