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A Brand New Year!

I can’t believe that not only has 2019 come to a close but it’s the start of a brand new decade! Time passes so so quickly and that can feel disappointing and even frustrating if we aren’t living our lives intentionally.

It’s a pretty common practice to commit to a set of resolutions or goals at the start of a brand new year. New Year’s Day is also a great day for looking back at experiences, at the joys, the sorrows , the growth and “mining for gold” in ALL the experiences. It doesn’t have to be all done on New Year’s Day though. I’ve taken the last couple of weeks to look back at not only 2019 but the entire last decade. I have a handful of different types of ” journals” including a ten-year journal, my Vision Board Success binder and my 3-a-day gratitude journal. I love my 10 year journal. Each page is for one day of the year and gives space for writing an entry for each year. At a glance I can review years of writing on that same day.

What a valuable experience it is to sit reading and reviewing the past decade of my life and how the various experiences have impacted my life. Looking for lessons I’ve learned, things or people I’ve had to say goodbye to, repeating themes, etc.

Reading these have filled me with a lot of different emotions but the over riding thought has been that I have been richly blessed!

The last decade has definitely brought many challenges and heart aches including my second cancer diagnosis and a prognosis of cancer likely being a lifetime chronic disease for me. But honestly, the gratitude I feel for the many lessons I’ve learned, the things I’ve survived and overcome and the beautiful gifts of life I’ve received is definitely the overriding emotion. I can’t seem to write fast enough as I read and contemplate this last decade and list all the blessing and gifts!! It’s been amazing…So very much to celebrate! ( I need to plan a celebration befitting 🙂

It’s also clear that there are things that I need to put behind me, thoughts and things that don’t serve me well that I need to let go of.

Here are just some of the questions I am asking myself-

  • What new things did I discover about myself?
  • What new habits did I cultivate?
  • Who or what had the biggest impact on my life this past year?
  • What was the funniest moment of the year?
  • Did any part of myself or my life do a complete 180 this past year?

Now the real fun begins!

What do I want to create in this next year and decade of my life??

One of the greatest gifts of the last decade has been the knowledge and tools I’ve acquired that give me the power to create the life I desire. That life is not simply what is thrown at you. I used to think that life was what it was and my part in it was to decide how to respond to it – would I respond negatively or find the good and respond positively. Now I’ve learned that I have much more power to actually intentionally create my future by choosing which thoughts and emotions I decide to spend time with. Those thought and emotions I spend the most time with become actions and habits and then create the results I have in my life. Now that’s pretty simply said but to go into that with more detail is a whole other blog post 🙂

Suffice it to say, this new knowledge has been life-changing.

If this practice of looking back at the end of the year and “ mining for gold”, celebrating the good and then intentionally looking forward to creating the new year, is not something you have done yet, I highly suggest it. It’s such a soul filling and empowering time to spend with yourself. There’s nothing magical about doing it all on New’s Years Day (although that is a great thing to do, in fact stay tuned, Empowered Survival is considering planning a day long retreat New Year’s Day 2021 to do just this.) So if you haven’t done this for yourself this year, set aside a little time and get started. You will be so glad you did!

Here’s to creating a fabulous new year!

Couples Retreat Announced !

Thanks to some generous donors we are able to offer our first ever Couple Retreat! To be held December 12-14, 2019 in Salt lake City.

The approximate cost is $100 per person. (That cost is based on the room you select. The range is $85 -$120 per person. First come, first serve) All other costs (except travel) are covered by our very generous donors.

The basic schedule is as follows:

Thursday, December 12

6:00 pm – 6:45 pm Check In/Snack

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Welcome/ Instructional Time

9:00 pm -11:00 pm Free Time (Jacuzzi, movies, games, snacks ,other)

Friday, December 13

7:30 am – 8:15 am Breakfast

8:30 am – 12:00 pm Instructional Time/Break/Activity

12:00 pm -12:45 pm Lunch

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Instructional time/Break/Activity

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Professional Photos

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Candlelight Dinner

8:00 pm – 11:00 pm Free Time  (Jacuzzi, movies, games, snacks ,other)

Saturday, December 14

7:30 am – 8:15 am Breakfast

8:30 am – 12:00 pm Instructional Time/Break/Activity

12:00 pm -12:45 pm Lunch

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Instructional time/Break/Activity

Space is very limited, so if you are interested at all please contact us at info@empoweredsurvival.org

November is National Family Caregivers Month

This annual observance honors the nearly 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Those of us who have been served by loving family and friends during cancer treatments and the subsequent healing period feel great gratitude for the loving care they provide.

Today I want to give a shout out to the many people in my life who gave me love and care during 4 surgeries, 6 chemo treatments, 35 radiation treatments, numerous test and biopsies and endless days of recovery.

Neighbors and family who cooked, cleaned, drove, shopped, provided childcare and listened. Others hanging with me in waiting rooms and chemo treatment rooms, pushing my wheel chair so I could get out of the house for a bit, sent me cards, flowers, gifts, wigs and scarves. A choice few who came and just sat and talked with me or sang beautiful songs to comfort me or brought me particular foods to satisfy my weird cravings. The list really goes on and on. I wanted to list names but realized that would be impossible to list everyone. My heart is full as I think of the many kindness and acts of love that were extended to me.

Cancer is never experience by JUST the person with the disease but rather something the entire family experience. How grateful I am to the wonderful neighbors who supported and comforted my family…especially my children.

Which DIET is Best?

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

When it comes to diet and nutrition Empowered Survival (ES) does not espouse or promote any particular diet plan. Survivors will have a variety of diet needs and health goals. Some are trying to lose weight, others to gain weight. Some have sensitivities or allergies to certain food or food groups while others are vegan. The list of individual needs and goals go on and on.

The recipes and information shared on this site and in our various classes and events will not meet everyone’s individual needs every time. We suggest you review the information provided and check it against your own personal needs and health goals. In regards to recipes, we will provide substitute ingredients when we are aware of any.

A key component of living empowered is to know yourself and your unique needs and to determine your personal health and lifestyle goals and then find ways to achieve those.

1 in 5 Cancer Survivors suffer from PTSD

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I hadn’t planned to start my National Cancer Survivors Month blog articles with this topic but a friend posted something today that brought it to mind. It’s a topic I don’t think we talk about enough. Studies show that one in five cancer survivors experience full-blown PTSD or at least some of the symptoms.

Many think people can only experience PTSD after going through a dramatic event like war, a natural disaster or a serious accident but studies have shown and survivors can tell you that going through a diagnosis of cancer and then its treatment can also bring on PTSD. For some it can manifest shortly after diagnosis and decrease over time, while for others it may manifest later on and for some it can persist and worsen over time. Often depression and anxiety go along with PTSD.

As any survivor can tell you, the days or even weeks prior to a scan or test can bring with it a boat load of emotions and fears. It’s also pretty common for survivors to get stressed about any new lump or pain they feel. As much as we try to put cancer out of our minds they can be random triggers that bring us staring face to face with it again.

As a survivor community, we need to raise awareness of this issue and be willing to speak out about it and get help to manage the emotional upheaval when we experience it.  The mantras like “fight like a girl”, “be a cancer warrior”, or “be positive and you will get through this” are espoused by survivors and their caregivers sometimes to the point that a survivor feels ashamed or guilty to express any doubt or different emotion than purely positive ones, for fear they will be thought of as weak or they will create more worry and fear in their family and friends.

It’s important to pay attention to and process the trauma of the diagnosis and treatment. This can help to make a person less vulnerable to PTSD later down the road. Talk about your feelings with a close friend or family member or a mental health professional.

Here are some suggestions that can help you cope with the symptoms of PTSD-

  • Mediation- Helps to balance your bodies systems, relax and reduce stress.
  • Sleep- Getting enough sleep can help to reduce stress levels. 7-9 hrs each night.
  • Exercise- Exercise help increase the releasing of endorphins that promote happy positive feelings within us.
  • Discuss your feelings with supportive people.
  • Join a support group with others who also are experiencing similar feelings.

It would be great to hear from others on this topic. Please share in a comment.

National Cancer Survivors Day

Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. A day for celebrating life and drawing attention to the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face. With more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the US and limited resources and support available to survivors, it’s important we raise awareness of the challenges and increase the support.

Empowered Survival will be celebrating throughout the month of June by providing new online resources for survivors, new blog posts/discussions and ending the month with a 7-day vibrant life challenge for survivors.

If you know anyone else who could benefit from this we hope that you will share this with them. Not all cancer survivors experience physical and/or emotional after effects from a diagnosis of cancer and it’s treatment but statistics show that about one in four do experience one or both of these.

Healing After Cancer Treatment

During diagnosis and treatment many of us cling to mantras such as Fight Like
a Girl and Pink Warrior to give us strength and courage. We use them to help us get through the shock of diagnosis and treatment. We push through these stages with all our might. Our focus, our concentration is all on fighting this thing. We look forward to that day when it will all end. The interesting thing is that when it does…when the all the tests, the surgeries, chemo, radiation are all done we can feel very alone and unsettled.

Most people think you’re done with cancer when the treatment is over and your
hair grows back. But the truth is, that’s when things start to get real interesting.
After treatment is when the REAL work starts. As a cancer survivor, you’ve
had a lot happen to you and now the reality of all of it is sinking in and you start
to process it all. Your brain and you body are playing catch up as it were. Some
women after treatment are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
or disconnectedness, depression, anxiety, fear of recurrence. Others still, facing late-term side effects such as bone density loss, neuropathy, cognitive issues and more. According to the American Cancer Society, one in four survivors – have experienced decreased quality of life due to these kinds of physical problems – problems brought on by the treatment, not the cancer. One in ten, have experienced decreased quality of life because of some of the emotional problems listed above.

I remember my surgeon telling me that the diagnosis and treatment is
difficult for sure but living with it the rest of my life would be the most difficult.
At the time I really had no concept of what she was talking about and when this
time came there was no one around to help me through it. Following breast cancer
treatment, whether after radiation therapy or chemotherapy, most women do experience a mixture of elation, fear, and uncertainty. We have had little preparation and information to guide us in our recovery from treatment. This posttreatment transitional period can definitely be a time of considerable distress. And so many of us are left to say……I SURVIVED cancer… NOW What?!

Life after treatment may be different than before your diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to be a “less than” kind of life.

Check out the Empowered Survival retreat at EmpoweredSurvival.org/retreats Rejuvenation, healing and new knowledge and tools to help you create a cancer resistant body and live a beautiful, vibrant life!

Announcing our Spring Retreat !

We are so thrilled to announce our spring retreat!!

APRIL 8th 6:00 pm to-April 10th 5:30 pm, 2019

Heber Valley, Utah

Join us for an amazing 2.5 days of rejuvenation, learning, inspiration and connecting… all to empower YOU to live your BEST LIFE after cancer treatment.

We will be exploring such topics as :

  • Fortifying your body
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Emotional side effects of cancer
  • Increasing your energy
  • Letting Go
  • Much more

Just of few of the highlights:

  • Meals prepared onsite by our own amazing chefs
  • Interactive learning sessions
  • Pay it Forward activity
  • Yoga
  • Indoor pool, dry sauna and Jacuzzi
  • Surprise activity

This is a retreat like no other and an opportunity you don’t want to miss. We could even say it will be transformational 🙂

Check it out on our RETREATS page on our website

Empoweredsurvival.org

Cancers Emotional Impact

Some people may get cancer, have treatment and don’t have any side effects. Cancer becomes a temporary interruption for them. For others, it changes the trajectory of their lives. The physical and emotional side effects can change the quality of life for many people. 

For many this can be a very lonely place. It’s quite common for cancer survivors to suffer in silence. Once treatment is over, the hair grows back or they’ve been told they are in remission many friends and family members think all is well. They look good …so everything must be fine, right? Often survivors are afraid to let people know they are struggling because family and friends have already been through so much with the diagnosis and treatment.

The American Cancer Society reports that one in four survivors experience decreased quality of life due to physical problems brought on by treatment and one in ten experience emotional issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety.

 There is a huge gap after diagnosis and treatment where survivors that face any emotional or physical side effects get lost in the cracks.

This is the group of people EMPOWERED SURVIVAL reaches out to. 

The population not being served adequately… Living as a Survivor.