Do you remember a moment in which you became acutely aware of how detached you had become from yourself?
A moment when something triggered your awareness that in order to survive treatment you had pulled away from being fully present in your body?
A moment when perhaps you had realized that the feelings of betrayal and fear of cancer had impacted your connection to your body, yourself?
For me, it was the touch of my physical therapist that reminded me my body still needed my love, support and attention. My breasts still existed in their altered form. They were still a part of me, even if it had been removed.
I had been fighting against really being able to look at myself in the mirror AND I had been having all the feels about how deconditioned my body had become, the body that had been so strong prior to cancer. Yet when I would notice my feelings, I would feel so conflicted knowing that I was so lucky to have been able to end treatment in the first place.
Yep, that first year post treatment was a constant up and down, back and forth, round and round in my head of so many thoughts and feelings.
They only began to quiet when I started the process of painting and drawing out my diagnosis and treatment experiences. Each time I sat down and leaned into what had happened, I was able to discharge the experience a little bit more from my psyche, leaving room for deeper awareness and letting go.
Allowing these experiences to no longer haunt me.
-Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing from a life threatening illness or injury. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer cancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program, workshops, and this weekly blog. Check out the individual packages, the self assessment tool, and virtual workshops. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.