Finding My Balance

balance_scaleBy Marlene Stager, MS
Support Connection Peer Counselor

I know who I was before I was diagnosed. I was a wife, mother of three, athlete, counselor and volunteer… each role came with an easy definition.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Striving to be the most successful cancer patient on the planet while keeping home life as normal as possible (yes, I was a bit delusional), I was what so many termed… A warrior – it worked for me. Then treatment ended. Everyone celebrated my survivorship.  But I was left to figure out how to live, not merely survive. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I must eat right. I must exercise. I must pay everyone back who helped me along the way. I must get involved in everything my children are involved in because now I knew from experience, “you just never know what tomorrow is going to bring.” The stress of getting everything right going forward was as overwhelming as receiving a cancer diagnosis. What’s worse… I knew the stress could make me sick.  The snowball was still getting away from me….. and seeming rolling downhill faster every day.

After months of trying to regain control of everything, committing to doing all that could humanly be done (and then some) to ensure that my cancer would not come back… I had to stop simply because I could not live in that state any longer… and my family could not bear to live with me.

So, what emerged for me was the idea of a healthy BALANCE. Prioritizing what was most important to me. Addressing what I must, but allowing myself to enjoy some favorite foods and beverages (opting to lose the veggie burgers forever). I began exercising gradually, slowly rebuilding my strength and stamina. “Giving back” as I could and as I was ready. Sharing my passions with my children instead of trying to fill every waking moment with them. I wasn’t perfect. But, I regained some of my sanity. I reconstructed a confidence in the way I was addressing my health needs and I began to find joy in my life again.

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