What I’ve Learned In My First Year Cancer Free
When you turn one everything is still pretty new. You know who your source of food is and how good a clean booty feels. You know who your ride or die people are. You know you love boobies! You know you love dancing and music and naps. Come to think of it, I feel like in many ways not much has changed since I turned one. I’m 43 and dang that seems like a long time to be alive, and wow so much has happened since I turned one. I’ve been in love, went to fashion college, visited 20 countries, lost too many friends to suicide and drug addiction. I lived in SoCal, NorCal and NYC. I’ve changed the world and created a foundation that not only saves lives, but inspires people to take action in their own lives.
What this means is that the tumor that I had on the inside of my right arm was no more than 1mm thick (same thickness as a penny) and about as round as a peanut. The top layer of your skin is called the epidermis, below that you have the dermis (dermatologist, derma brasion get it?!?). My tumor was only in these two layers of skin. Close to the inside of my elbow are lymph nodes. My cancer tests had shown that it had not spread to the nearby lymph. That was a relief. Cancer can spread to other parts of the body through your blood and lymph. The cancer cells break away from their original squatting spot, attach themselves to a blood or lymph submarine vessel, and start to travel to other parts of the body. No bueno. And thankfully, that’s not my story.
Since my diagnosis, I started to noticed that the people in my life who wanted me to be a certain way for them no longer actually fit into my life. Let me explain.
My friend Nena Anderson wrote a song a few years ago called Promises. There is a line in the song that says “I’m changing my ways just to be there for you.” I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, and I feel like for many years I’ve adjusted, tweaked, dimmed, and changed who I am to make some people in my life more comfortable. I realized that these same people were always the people who had an opinion about me, the choices I make, and the way that I act. I realized that certain people around me wanted me to be someone that was their idea of me and not really me. The magical part about all this is that these relationships have fallen apart for one reason or another and I’m learning that I don’t have to change who I am to have friends or be in a relationship. If you don’t like me for me, well then I have no time for you, and you no longer fit into my life, which is amazing and full of so much love and light that I kick myself for letting anyone else make me feel like I was not enough to be next to them.
Having any kind of cancer sucks, and it forces you in many ways to evaluate what is important to you in your life.
For me, on my 1 year cancer free anniversary, I’m freeing myself from people in my life that also suck. If you want to also free yourself from some toxic friends or relationships here are three tips that have been helping me and they may help you too.
FRIENDS FOREVER? NOPE!
Breaking up with a friend is always harder than breaking up with a lover. Not all friends are forever, that’s just a fact, and just because you have been friends with someone forever does not mean that you have to stay friends with that person if they are not good for you.
Ask yourself if you feel drained or energized when you are spending time with a questionable friend. If you find yourself feeling drained then it’s time to take a good look and ask yourself if this friendship is worth it. Sometimes friendships run their course and that’s just life.
Surround yourself with people that have a Positive Mental Attitude. Spend time with those friends that get you, love you for you, celebrate you, and ride your waves with you. Talk to your PMA people about boundaries and learn from them. When you are with toxic people, that toxicity can run off on you. Notice how you feel and how you act when you are spending time with different sets of people. Which you do you like better?
LET IT GO
We all do it! You see a social media post or a person’s name comes up that triggers something negative, or painful, or just plain gross, and then your thoughts go into judgements about this person that are not cool. You think mean things about them or you go into all the why’s… WTF is her problem, oh gawd she looks horrible, I hope she falls in that pool, or what is he doing there with that person? Ugh…. it’s a rabbit hole. It takes practice, but just train yourself and your body to STOP the madness.
When you find your mind going down that toxic pathway just take a deep breath, relax your entire body for one moment, especially your heart, and just let that toxic vibe pass through you, like beyonce says “tell em boy bye” and let it go, that crap is not serving you.
So, there it is, what I've learned this first year of being cancer free.
Here's to many more years of being cancer free and also free of toxic relationships.
I’m going to keep practicing my own tips and walking the walk. I now also have a great collection of sunscreen, some cool beach hats, and long sleeve shirts. I’m more mindful of the time I spend in the sun, that’s for sure. Although I’m always down for a frozen pina colada on a sunny porch with my ride or die friends.