When you are going through treatment you need to take as many time outs from all things breast cancer as your schedule permits and you can physically handle. You will feel the better for it emotionally.
Even the smallest escapes help; sitting in a movie theater viewing an upbeat movie, or watching TV without interruptions, or curling up with a good book for a few hours.
On days that you feel up to it, get out and do something that you enjoy, something you did regularly before breast cancer treatment. If you feel your best when you get up in the morning, meet a friend for breakfast who is fun to be with and positive, or grab your favorite beverage and just take a walk.
If you are getting daily radiation, do something pleasant either on your way to or back from treatment just to make it less of a cancer happening. Stop for a snack or sit in a park for several minutes and force yourself to empty your thoughts of cancer.
Each day of radiation, following my first breast cancer, I made it a habit to stop at a diner for breakfast before heading to work. The normalizing experience of eating out helped to interrupt the cancer-related feelings and fears, which were my daily fallout from treatment. It helped to get my head on straight for the work day.
Preparing for surgery for my second breast cancer and while in recovery, I came to rely on the time outs that car rides gave me. When friends and family asked what they could do, I’d answer with, “Let’s take a drive.” The destinations didn’t much matter and two hours was enough for me to get away from the cancer thoughts and refresh myself .
Walking through a park, by the water, or in a mall on a rainy day, with a caring person to talk to was what I needed to get things in perspective.
When treatment is over, a closure time out is what is needed. It will mark the end of treatment and the beginning of life as a survivor. A closure time out will help breast cancer recede from the position of prominence it has held in your life from the time of diagnosis through the long months of treatment.
The best closure time out is a physical get-a-way. It doesn’t have to be expensive or far, or long; it just needs to be away. It needs to be free of all things cancer. It needs to be refreshing and distracting. It needs to be a place where it will sink in for you that treatment is over and when you go home it is a brand new, cancer-free time.
If you have children, ask friends or family to mind the kids for a few days while you and your husband get away. If you can’t afford to go away, take a few day trips and come home each evening, just the two of you.
There is nothing easy about cancer treatments. Getting through them is about giving yourself, no matter how you feel, a time out from cancer.