Recently, I’ve realized that my hair is long enough to start clogging the drain in my shower again. Rather than feeling a slight repulsion about the clump of hair, it makes me smile every time I step into the shower. Intellectually, I knew that having my hair again would make me happy, but the physical joy that I feel when I experience it is truly pleasurable. Here are a few other small (and large) victories I have felt fully with my body, mind and spirit:
- walking through the grocery store and realizing I no longer had to cling tightly to the handle of the cart for support
- the incredible sensation of literally feeling your cells come back to life- kind of like having billions of tiny balloons re-inflate themselves inside of your skin
- being able to breath deeply again, without pain or wheeziness
- hearing my son’s authentic joy at seeing me in my work out clothes again- “Mama, you look so beautiful”
- having enough energy to be out and about on adventures with my family, and not having to rest for the remainder of the day
- watching the transformation to my eyes as the eye lashes began to grow in again
The list could go on and on.
I find it important to internally identify and note these changes, because they help me to have a deep appreciation for my health and my body, as well as assisting me in cultivating a deep compassion for what my loved ones and I went through. I did exercise this during treatment as well, because often my anticipation of how I would feel was much worse than what I actually felt.
I see this as a vital part of reclaiming myself, of emotional healing, and as a counterpoint to when I feel those feelings of frustration about the losses we have experienced. It’s about having a healthy balance of the two, our celebrations and our sorrows, to walk in this world as a resilient person.
I’d love to hear about your small victories, feel free to share them below. Let’s inspire one another.
– Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing from a life threatening illness or injury. Creative Transformations offers individual sessions, in person or via Skype, workshops, and this weekly blog. Sign up today so you never miss one by visiting: www.creative-transformations.com, where you will also find the links to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.