Learning to live with the diagnosis

When I was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer three months ago I was devastated. 

Of course, at every annual check-up appointment you have to expect that the doctor will find something. But I was firmly convinced that I would walk out of the doctor’s office after the annoying X-ray and not have to worry about coming back until my next check-up appointment. Then I received a letter: Please come by again – a life-changing letter. It is hard to describe in which disbelief, fear and despair the message of my radiologist that I have cancer put me.

The first few weeks were one of the worst periods of my life. Disoriented, helpless and full of fears I could only see the worst-case future scenario. I found no rest, no confidence, had no plan and quarrelled with my fate against which I rebelled. I was, however, already tied up in it.

It was not until I had found the right doctor, further examinations and a treatment plan, that the darkness slowly began to thin out. Nevertheless, I was going to my first chemotherapy with the feeling: the other women have cancer – I’m only sitting here for further tests. As I watched a bald woman with a cap being pushed to the operating theatre in her hospital bed, one thought went through my mind: Thank God that this will not happen to me.

Meanwhile, my daughter has already shaved off my remaining hair and of course I – just like the woman – will be pushed to my operation.

But that is now OK. I have learned to live with my diagnosis. The chances that I will be healthy again are much higher than the chances that I will remain sick. And I am very confident that I will beat cancer.

Of course, I am burdened with the chemotherapy – like any other woman in a similar situation – and I have experienced never known physical and emotional lows. But the important thing is that I have learned how to lift myself up again.

Many things that have accompanied my life so far are helping me now immensely. Swimming is the only exercise that helps me regain my physical strength following chemotherapy – and we now know that exercise is not only good for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also improves the survival chances of cancer patients significantly. Mediation and Yoga – which I both learned a long time ago has only now revealed their full potential to me. I have regained so much strength and confidence from which I can now draw.

Once again I have realized how much the two pillars – movement and techniques to find inner peace – help, no matter what disease you have. And I am convinced that both help me in addition to the therapy to be healthy again. The therapy is the most important pillar – of course – but exercise and attitude are a vital additional support that we have in our own hands. We now know that they can make a significant difference in the well-being of a patient. There is no guarantee – but that is the case even for the healthy ones.

Author: Dorothee Gaenshirt

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