As I was strolling through the shops, carelessly considering my attire, my budget and the outfits I envisioned for an event coming up, I saw a friend who was awaiting results for a test for Lymphoma. I’d allowed myself for the previous week to be consumed by my day to day struggles, business, family life, coaching to properly contact her and find out the results however, the moment I saw her I didn’t need to ask I read it across her face instantly, the results were positive.
Then it all came rushing back, the anticipation of the wait, the expectation of a negative test result and then the disbelief and devastation of a positive result to cancer. Like my girlfriend, I knew all too well how it felt to wait for a result to cancer, not for myself but for my late husband, and the overwhelming feelings of fear, devastation, heartbreak and every thing that could happen if you don’t fight this off. To see your children, so innocent, so carefree to have to potentially loose their number one over this all consuming horrible s**t that is cancer!
Like most people I followed my first basic instinct of comfort, consolidation, well wishes, statistics of positive results, but does this help? We know the results of cancer, I know what happens when you don’t, you can’t fight it off. It’s every s**t feeling you can think of and then thrown into the galaxy and hurled back directly at you to slam you into the ground and leaves you almost lifeless, at what feels like the lowest point of existence to crawl back out and attempt to keep moving forward.
My girlfriends response was amazing, she was energetic, she was positive, she was realistic, she’d studied the potential outcomes and made the decision to move forward to take one step at a time and tackle it as it comes. I know the journey she has in front of her but it was inspiring to see the attitude she is taking towards it and I know it is the only attitude you can have when life deals you this s**t hand.
So how do we deal with the real s**t?
The truth is, s**t comes in all forms and sizes without warning! It doesn’t have to be cancer, a terminal illness or major disease, it can be as simple as a short fall in income, anxiety, stress as something doesn’t go your way or any small or large thing that brings your life to a screaming halt! Real s**t hits us when we least expect it and can feel a million times bigger then it really is when we let it overwhelm and consume us. From my own experience, these three simple steps is what got myself and three sons through the hardest s**t we’ve ever had to deal with when my husband was diagnosed with melanoma.
Step One: Breathe!
You’ve got the news or something has happened that has rocked your world in a s**t way and you feel instant panic! Your world is consumed by this one thing that feels overwhelming and suffocating.
STOP AND BREATHE!
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah
Absorb the moment, focus on your breathe, settle your mind by closing your eyes and listening to your breathe. When we feel stress, anxiety and especially panic our nervous system responds in a physical way that can leave us breathless, hot sweats and sometimes even feel like a heart attack. You need to control this and a very quick solution is by focusing on your breathe and calming your sometimes physical reaction down.
Practice breathing in your concerns, worry, s**t that has just happened for long inhales and mentally envision breathing these out with each long exhale for at least three breathes.
Being calm means you can move on to step two.
Step Two: Deal with the Facts
Now your calm, it’s time to focus on the facts. It’s natural for our brains to run everything across our minds when s**t happens. We over analyse everything that has been put in front of us, but the simple fact is, the facts are the number one thing we can deal with. We can’t change the event, for me it was my husbands diagnosis, but we can control how we deal with it and the first thing we can deal with is the facts:
What is the event? What is the instigator? What are the possible outcomes? Can I change the event?
Everyone will have different questions relevant to their situation in order to get all the facts. For my late husband and I our first stage facts were: Stage three melanoma, Secondary tumour, no primary found, captured in the lymph node but exploded out and attached to the skin cells. It’s brutal, it’s direct and it was hard to absorb, but it was the facts and we could not change that. Once we had those facts we were able to move on to step three.
Step Three: Act!
You need an action plan. It’s all good to breathe, get the facts but unless you create a viable plan towards acting on the facts the real s**t gets bigger. You have the facts in front of you and now its time to do the work to get through the s**t either alive or at least in the best possible and strongest way you can.
It doesn’t help anyone to sit in the corner and melt down. Get a support group and make an action list of the things you can and need to do right now to get through your s**t. You cant change the past, what has happened or why it happened, you can however control how you deal with it, your mindset, where you take it and how you move forward.
Ben and I found the best oncologist, we booked in his surgery and we started researching the hell out of every possible treatment plan both natural and traditional as when his diagnosis went to stage four, we were back to stop one!
The bottom line is you have control over you! You can’t control or change what has already happened and sometimes life is just s**t! But like me, you have a choice on how you get yourself out of it or through it. Unfortunately, my late husband Ben didn’t make it out alive, but we literally went through the above three steps every time we were thrown another blow and although he’s not here he left this world with strength, dignity and everyone around him knowing he gave it everything and that the boys and I were going to be ok.
Keeping a stable state of mind is critically in dealing with the real s**t. Found practicing yoga and lifting weights for an hour a day gave my mind and body the strength to keep fighting and get the boys through them loosing their dad as best as possible. But it can be as simple as going for a walk, getting into nature, removing yourself away from the problem so you can give yourself space to breathe first and then move forward.
I tell my boys every day not to get caught up in the little things and the past, we cant change what has happened but we can chose not to be a victim and to move forward in the strongest happiest way we can and know we only have one life! We need to live and deal with what is thrown at us as quickly and simply as possible because living is real and the s**t does leave when you breathe, deal with the facts and act!!