After Cancer, there is no “new normal”, it’s just life.

Breast Cancer or Coronavirus, either way, you don't need to define a "new normal"

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Now that I am on the other side of my treatment I have been much more open to reading about other people’s experiences with cancer and their treatment. A lot of people talk about their “new normal”. I have been trying to figure out if I have a new normal yet.  But it made me think, did I ever have a “normal”?  Life is full of ups and downs.

When I was little I was convinced that the Brady Bunch was a “normal” family that I aspired to have. At the time it was just me and my mom, so I was on the lookout for a single dad with 5 kids. Specifically 3 boys, one girl older than me and one younger so I could be a big and little sister. 

First day of chemo treatment. Smiling because this will save me.

Eventually I realized that probably wasn’t a realistic family goal for me to have, so I adjusted my view of a “normal” family.

Growing up in California, I have learned that a family is a family and no two are the same.  As I grew up, like everyone, my life was a series of unexpected events. I didn’t get into classes I wanted, friends turned into enemies and then friends again, I changed colleges twice, relationships started and ended (luckily, I did find the right person at the right time), I got my dream job that wasn’t so dreamy and changed jobs again and again. Each time there was a change, whether it be personal or professional I didn’t stop and define a “new normal” I just kept going. What else was I going to do? Just sit down and stop? That’s just not how I work. 

Last day of treatment, with my Oncologists puppy, Princess Poppy. Smiling because I’m done.

Back to my cancer treatment. There was nothing normal about it. In fact, I am a firm believer that no two treatments are exactly the same because everyone is different, the support system for everyone is different, doctors do things slightly differently and patients react differently.

That’s not to say that hearing about similar experiences isn’t helpful, it is, I’m just saying that there is not a “normal” way to experience it.  So, what’s my point? Just as there is no “normal” in the rest of life, I don’t think there is a right way to define a “new normal” at least not for me.

For me, that would mean looking at and analyzing things that I think I missed because of my cancer treatment or things that I might not be able to do right now as I still heal from the experience.

The worst thing for me is thinking about the things I can’t control that might be in my future. So for me, my “new normal” is just going forward. Not defining things, not setting-up expectations or boundaries for what I can and can’t do. Just going forward adjusting and adapting on a daily basis as I have always done. 

This might not work for everyone, but for some, I hope it might help. Breast cancer was just another thing that life threw at me that I had to figure out how to get through. And I did get through it. It’s time to move on and enjoy my family, my friends and the life I have. 

PS: My husband and I decided to have only one child and we love her and are so proud of her. Thank goodness I got over my Brady Bunch phase 🙂

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