Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reinvent or Refine?

Recently I've noticed that women's magazines seem be be focusing on reinventing and organizing. (I'll save organizing for another post.) I read "More" Magazine fairly regularly.The February issue has an article "Reinvent Yourself"with stories of women who have changed jobs, started businesses, etc. In the body and mind section of the magazine, five women reinvented their middles.Yes, their middles. I admit my middle might need help ( two surgeries have done it in) but reinvention?

I've even seen contests on telling your reinvention story. Sharing your story can be important. There is a website called "Voices of Survivors" . On its pages there are stories - written words or videos of cancer survivors telling their stories and explaining what surviving cancer means to them. That is helpful stuff to read when you are newly diagnosed or just finishing treatment. The stories are inspiring. But reinvention stories?

Cancer like any major illness causes major changes in your life- at diagnosis, during treatment, and after treatment. It presents a time when you think about who and what is important in your life. When you are done with treatment , when your hair grows back and your body functions almost like normal are you the same person you were before? You might come close but I believe you never return to being that same exact person.

Does cancer cause you to reinvent yourself? I like to think of it as becoming refined. You take the time to think about who you are and who you want to be in whatever time you have left. For me the cancer experience let me refine those interests and relationships that mean the most to me. What activities do I want to spend time and effort on? When I was younger I would doodle a lot . Not so good when you are in a Catholic elementary school and the nuns see what they think is "scribble " in your notebook. Years later, after I finished treatment I started to paint. I had painted those small ceramic Christmas houses and paint-by-numbers but I had never painted free hand on canvas. Turns out I like doing it. Did I reinvent myself- nope I just allowed myself to refine an interest I already had. Refining myself is an ongoing process. I am given new opportunities that help me refine what it is I do and what I spend time on.

So I continue to refine my life- cancer and all.


Every Day is a Blessing!
PS Thanks Lynn for all the "Voices" you've shared.


Lynn Lane said...

Dee...Thank you so much for sharing the "Voices of Survivors Foundation" with your readers. Each and every 'voice' shared can help so many and touch even more. Each and every day I am moved and educated as I meet so many amazing 'Survivors'. Each 'voice' shared helps me further understand my own 'Survivorship' as well in a deeper more meaningful way. Have a wonderful day and keep doing all that you do! Remember: It's all about 'Survivorship'!

~ J ~ said...

Stumbled upon your blog today....I, too have been treated at CINJ (Hamilton & New Brunswick locations) just finished treatment in October for stage 3b Cervical Cancer....I cant say enough good things about all of the doctors I have dealt with. I will spend the day reading your blog and learning about all that you do. Id love to get involved if you would point me in the right direction!!

Dee said...

Hi ~J~
Thanks for the comment but sorry that we have to be linked through CINJ. There is a gyn -onc support group at CINJ that meets on the 2nd Tuesday each month at 7pm. So we are meeting on February 9th. We usually have a pretty good group of survivors -ovarian , endometrial and I believe there is a cervical cancer survivor too. Give Julie in the social work department a call. Women travel from your area and the shore area to attend.

I hope it was ok that I've added your blog to mine. I read a few of your entries. I know all about those jitters waiting for results- like you, I have looked at my CT and Pet results on the computer too.
Stay in touch and stay well ;o)